McLaren chief aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou is eager to build a relationship with Renault to emulate the partnership it enjoyed with Red Bull Racing which led to four consecutive Formula 1 world titles but concedes he remains nervous ahead of pre-season testing.

McLaren begins its new power unit supplier deal with Renault this year after splitting from Honda after three years of an unreliable and underperforming engines. The deal sees a return to familiar allies for Prodromou, who returned to the Woking-based squad from Red Bull in September 2014 as chief engineer before switching roles to become chief technical aerodynamics officer.

Prodromou, who initially left McLaren in 2006 to join Red Bull as Head of Aerodynamics alongside Adrian Newey, helped mastermind the Milton Keynes-based squad’s F1 domination between 2010-2013 when it claimed four straight F1 world drivers’ and constructors’ titles.

The McLaren technical head is eager to build a similar partnership starting this year but concedes nerves on car performance always remain before the start of pre-season testing.

“This time of year is always nerve-wracking as it is a period where you about to run a car and you are unsure where you are in the competitive hierarchy,” Prodromou said.” You’ve done your best but how does that shape up against your rivals. Being with Renault doesn’t add any extra nervousness.

“When I was at Red Bull, contrary to what is out reported which is negative [Red Bull’s relationship with Renault], it was very positive and extremely fruitful as a relationship. I think a lot of the success we had we can attribute not just the work we did at Milton Keynes but the work that was going on in Viry, for example, the whole blown diffusers was something we worked very closely with Viry on and couldn’t have done it without them.

“That type of project was very fruitful and we had a great relationship with trust. I hope that we can replicate that type of relationship with them at McLaren.”

“It is different as it is new and we are a customer but with time I think we can work closely and forge strong relationships where we can have influence over some of the work they do and we’ll get the extra benefits that come with a manufacturer status.

After three disastrous years with Honda, McLaren is eager for a fresh start at F1 pre-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya with the team targets around 500km of running per day of the two four-day tests.

McLaren frequently trailed the F1 pre-season testing distance covered due to its unreliable Honda power units but Prodromou feels those “painful” experiences helped the team learn and prepare for the future.

“At the time it felt like a big, painful hit,” he said. “But remarkably we still managed to extract from our testing and Friday running at race weekends the answers that we were looking for. Certainly, the more running you do the more you can learn from the car though.”



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