23 October 2013
McLaren acknowledges wait for Prodromou return
McLaren MD Jonathan Neale admits that he is not expecting an immediate release for recently-signed aero ace Peter Prodromou.
McLaren HQ has acknowledged that it is unlikely to get its hands on Peter Prodromou's expertise much before 2015 unless it is able to work out an unlikely deal with current employer Red Bull Racing.
Rumours that the Woking squad had poached the aerodynamics expert surfaced at the recent Japanese Grand Prix – following on from Martin Whitmarsh's claim that the team was poised to make a 'big name signing' – but, despite Whitmarsh subsequently confirming that Prodromou was indeed switching sides, there is the small matter of an existing contract to be overcome.
Prodromou's current deal ties him to Milton Keynes until the end of the 2015 campaign and, buy-outs and gardening leave aside, there is always the possibility that RBR will want to keep tapping into his knowledge until then. Although it is unlikely to allow Prodromou access to the latest technical developments towards the end of his tenure, the reigning world champions have said that they intend to make McLaren wait for their man.
"The duration of his contract runs for quite a while yet," team principal Christian Horner told the UK's Guardian newspaper last week, "We are certainly in no rush to release him early and he will be with the team to the end of his existing agreement."
McLaren, of course, set something of a precedent when it allowed erstwhile technical chief Paddy Lowe to join Mercedes with very little delay earlier this season, but Neale confirmed that there had yet to be any similar discussions with Red Bull over Prodromou.
"Peter's a great guy and he's an important part of their operation," McLaren MD Jonathan Neale acknowledged during a media phone-in, "I can't see any incentive for Red Bull to release him early. We'd be very happy to have him here starting tomorrow morning, but we fully respect Red Bull's position - as we do when we're recruiting anybody from another organisation. They know that, we understand the position with Red Bull and we fully respect Christian's position.
"Who knows what will happen over the course of a year. As I say, it's entirely at Red Bull's gift. It's for them to decide, not for us."
London-born Prodromou has previously worked with McLaren, teaming with current RBR team leader Adrian Newey to drive the team's success between 2002-06, before following his fellow Briton to Milton Keynes. Despite his contractual situation, it appears that he was a man much in demand in recent weeks, with the BBC claiming that Williams had also made an approach, only to be driven off by the cost of hiring one of the sport's foremost technical minds.
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