Tous Avec Jules #17
Sochi 2014
Russian Grand Prix
Why are two key allies of Adrian Newey leaving Red Bull?
News
XPB.cc
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Oct 2013   |  9:06 am GMT  |  208 comments

Although the news that Red Bull’s leading aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou and his right hand man are to leave the championship winning team came as a surprise, further investigation has revealed that the move had been rumoured for a long time on the engineering grapevine.

Prodromou is one of the closest working associates of the design maestro Adrian Newey.

It was reported as news during the Japanese GP race weekend and since then the story has evolved as a clearly irked Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has made it clear that Prodromou has a contract until 2015 and he will not allow him to leave before then.

The central question here however is why would Prodromou want to leave Newey’s side to rejoin McLaren and what does that tell us about Newey’s long term plans?

Red Bull’s success has come in large part by replicating the model created at Ferrari in the late 1990s and early 2000s: a strong and stable management group, based around a champion driver, with huge resources and powerful influence behind the scenes with the governing body and the commercial rights holder. Ferrari won the constructors championship for six consecutive years between 1999 and 2004 and five consecutive drivers’ championships.

Distilled down to its essence, F1 is about money and people and where people are concerned the key is quality and continuity. Like Ferrari before them, Red Bull has managed to build and sustain a team of high quality engineers, to play to the strengths of their star designer Adrian Newey.

Ferrari managed to keep that group together. For Red Bull, losing a key member of the team, not to mention his deputy, destabilises things. The others in the inner sanctum will feel betrayed to some degree. How long a notice period do they hold him to? They might not want McLaren to have him early, but they will also not want him getting sight of their plans too far ahead, into 2015 for example.

With a major rule change like 2014, a huge amount of evolution and development goes on in the first season. A team does not want a man at the helm through that period, who is jumping ship at the end of the year.

F1 is such a sensitive business when it comes to ideas and Prodromou is already an outsider now as far as Newey’s team is concerned.

Newey told us in the recent feature interview on BBC Radio 5 Live that he does not have many associates he takes with him wherever he goes, but he was with Prodromou at McLaren in the early 2000s and he was one of Newey’s first hires at Red Bull in 2006.

For Prodromou to want to leave, there must be more than simply money at stake. McLaren is working to build up its capabilities now that Honda is coming back in 2015 and Prodromou is a key signing. But Prodromou must be looking further down the road than next year or the year after. Perhaps he feels that Newey is coming to the end of the road and it’s time for him to stake his own claim.

Newey said in the BBC 5 Live special that he does not know how much longer he will carry on in F1, but that he still enjoys it. He did acknowledge that the pressure is very intense. Like all the great engineers in F1 he no doubt wants to see how the new F1 technology coming in next season evolves, but how far into the future does he see himself at the coal face?

“It’s a good question, one I sometimes ask myself,” he told us for the BBC 5 LIve special last month. “The answer is I still really enjoy it. The pressure can be onerous at times if I’m honest. The hours are long and if you’re not careful it can be all-consuming but you get a tremendous buzz when it goes well. And that’s quite addictive. I’m 54 so I’m too young to do nothing, but equally at some stage I’d like to be involved in something different rather than only motor racing. When that might be and what that might be, I have no idea.”

He has always expressed interest in the America’s Cup and with Sir Ben Ainslie seeking to put together a British team to challenge for it, there is inevitable speculation that Newey may be thinking of that. But equally, he is in the form of his life in F1 at the moment in a team he likes.

As for how Prodromou will fit in at McLaren, he clearly knows the team well from his 15 years there (1991-2006) and he will work alongside chief aerodynamicist Doug McKiernan and head of aero Marcin Budkowski.

McKiernan drives aero development and despite the poor car McLaren has had this year, is very highly rated in F1 circles, while Budkowski joined the team from Ferrari, where he worked from 2002 to 2007.

Prodromou and his right hand man will have to fit into this structure.

It’s a very aggressive move by McLaren and shows that they mean business with Honda. There will no doubt be more aggressive signings soon.

The market for senior engineers is quite fluid at the moment, which is understandable as teams look to learn more about the new 2014 technology. They want to know what work is going on elsewhere and what better way to do that than hire in people from a variety of teams? Meanwhile a major rule change like this offers senior engineers a chance to cash in on their expertise and knowledge.

Featured News
MORE FROM JA ON F1...
Share This:
Posted by:
208 Comments
  1. Michal says:

    Budkowski, not Budkwoski :)

  2. James, once again interesting analysis. From Polish language side I would only indicate one typing mistake – the proper writing of aero man from Ferrari is Budkowski, not Budkwoski.

    1. BW says:

      It’s not the matter of language, it’s just that you don’t write Pordromou, either.

      1. 4Poivres says:

        Is James Alen related to the great Finnish rally driver? Oh, wait a minute….. :D

  3. Bono says:

    Was it really a McLaren move?
    In the latest edition of autosport it has been reported that Prodromou himself approached Williams and McLaren.

    1. Sebee says:

      I didn’t know you were such a big F1 fan. Awesome!

      When I’m at a Discotheque it’s always a Beautiful Day when I find a TV with F1 feed on it. I used to hate October, because it was the end of the season. Every New Year’s Day you say nothing changes, but I know I am closer to a new F1 season. I Will Follow F1 for as long as I live. They say 22 races is too many, but I would not mind if there were 40. F1 GPs take place Where the Streets have no name, but worry not, each apex, turn, series of esses all have names.

      1. Lawrence says:

        Haha. Well with there being No Line On The Horizon for Newey maybe Prodromou thought “I’m not going to take the Crumbs From Your Table anymore, I need some Elevation”. No more Red Light time to Breathe before I go Pop.

      2. dufus says:

        Maybe Prodromou could not live with or without Newey until now ? :)

      3. Chris says:

        That’s very BAD of U2

    2. Lawrence says:

      Haha. Well with there being No Line On The Horizon for Newey maybe Prodromou thought “I’m not going to take the Crumbs From Your Table anymore, I need some Elevation”. No more Red Light time to Breathe before I go Pop.

      1. 4Poivres says:

        Has no-one here heard of a Mallock U2?

  4. Joost says:

    My hope was always that Vettel would sign another team and (we) found out what kind of driver he really is. Now my hope is that the Red Bull team will crumble down towards a team in which he feels the necessity to move. Please let Newey sign somewhere else as well and please not in the same team as Vettel!

    1. Grant says:

      Without aero dominating performance as it has been, RBR could be behind Lotus as soon as next season.

      Then we’ll likely see that HAM/Vettel or Alonso/Vettel pairing… :D

      Fingers crossed!

    2. Sebee says:

      You’re putting more value on winning WDC with multiple teams vs. keeping the motivation and dynasty going. I’m not sure I can agree. I’ve expressed personally that I feel keeping motivationg going, winning many WDCs in a row is way harder than winning with 2 teams. After all, what happens when a driver switches teams? Everyone around him switches teams too, so they are simply same team in different brand jerseys.

      On another note, I’m glad that RBR are holding onto these two until 2015. The only unfortunate thing is that Newey now has to set aside his hobby of gentleman racing and start immediate work on the neuralyzer device to erase these two brains of all the RBR secrets before departure.

    3. K says:

      “We” found out?

      The only ones left doubting Vettel is a great driver are the die-hard fans of the drivers he is beating and the ones who dislike Germans.

      1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        We all know he is great. How great is the question to be answered. What we have seen when he hasnt had a car that suits him perfectly leaves room for doubt.

      2. Quercus says:

        The thing is you see, we all like dominant drivers who win because they’re the best (especially if they’re also sporting); but none of us like dominant cars. And we want to find out what’s the case with RBR/Vettel.

      3. Rockie says:

        What is dominant about the RBR all I see is a driver who uses his equipment to devastating effect it same as Kimi vs Montoya 05 Montoya was good but Kimi decimated him.
        I am a believer that Vettel in the Ferrari would be closer to the lead driver in the RBR as its obvious Alonso cant qualify well only a useless Massa makes him seem like a driving God as the Ferrari comfortable beats all the others in races except for Vettel in the RBR the Merc was a dominant car in qualy earlier in the year it didnt stop people from saying Hamilton was a pole master it was all him.

      4. Ivan says:

        For the record, I like Germans. I like Vettel’s hunger for win as well. However, he is far from ‘great’. To become so, he needs to prove himself in two ways:
        (1) Take a mediocre team and make it a dominant winning force in F1 for a long period of time like Schumacher did with Ferrari. Red Bull is not such a case;
        (2) Win races regularly with a poor car which is at least one second slower than the pace-setter. Example again: Spanish GP 1996, MSC in Ferrari – genius in inferior car.

      5. Sjin says:

        That’s not MSC’s doing, that was a lucky win

      6. Bartholomew says:

        Vettel is “great”, but he’s still almost in the infancy of his career. I’m a huge Schumacher fan, but your first point is inaccurate- though Schumacher played a big role in Ferrari’s rise in the late 90′s-00′s, key staff went with him from Benetton, who also played a great role.

        The second point, though, no-one has done since Schumacher.

      7. Rockie says:

        What was mediocre about Ferrari when Schumi joined ?
        Schumi in effect brought the winning team with more money to work with.
        Why should Vettel help a mediocre team win am sure you consider Alonso a great yet he has failed to develop an ok team into winners, so why should Vettel do this Lewis has not done for Mercedes as well.
        Why is Lewis and Alonso not winning in poorer cars.
        Also he’s won in a poorer car a team with not much cash compared to the the other guys Lewis Mclaren n Merc Alonso Renault n Ferrari Vettel TR n Redbull.

      8. anon says:

        “Vettel is “great”, but he’s still almost in the infancy of his career. I’m a huge Schumacher fan, but your first point is inaccurate- though Schumacher played a big role in Ferrari’s rise in the late 90′s-00′s, key staff went with him from Benetton, who also played a great role.

        The second point, though, no-one has done since Schumacher.”

        How many years has Ross Brawn actually produced the best car on the grid?

        I’d say 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2009 (which was due to the interpretation of the rules).

      9. SteveS says:

        “Take a mediocre team and make it a dominant winning force in F1 for a long period of time like Schumacher did with Ferrari. Red Bull is not such a case”

        Red Bull is in fact such a case. If anything it is more such a case than Ferrari was. Red Bull had never won so much as a single race in their history before Vettel joined them and turned them into a dominant winning force.

        “Win races regularly with a poor car which is at least one second slower than the pace-setter”

        No driver in the history of F1 has ever “regularly” done that. Schumacher never did it.

      10. Bartholomew says:

        “How many years has Ross Brawn actually produced the best car on the grid?

        I’d say 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2009 (which was due to the interpretation of the rules).”

        Yeah that’s pretty much it. Williams blew it in 2003, Mclaren/Hakkinen were close but beaten by Schumacher in 2000.

      11. K says:

        Using your logic, Fangio and Clark were not great drivers. In fact, no one was. The drives you mention had to do with a lot of luck.

        The Ferrari team was not built by Schumacher, but by Todt and Brawn. So using your logic, Schumacher isnt a great either.

      12. Joost says:

        The thing is, during karting he was good but not like Hamilton for example. Vettel is a very good driver, no doubt about that, but any good driver in a car that gives a lot of confidence will display dominance as he does. As a matter of fact, I think that 10 out of 22 current F1 drivers would be in the same position as Vettel is now. The credit some people demand for him nowadays is overrated UNTIL he does the same trick in another team. Otherwise it is nearly impossible to judge for the haters/lovers of Vettel.

      13. Rockie says:

        Lmao success in lower formulae is no guarantee of success in F1 case in point Martin Brundle beat Senna in lower fornulae can you compare the two drivers also what Vettel has done is improve as he has climbed up the formulas Hamilton in the same car now with Vettel would be thrashed I have no doubt about that its just the reality only Alonso comes close in consistency to Vettel but over a race weekend no one comes close to Vettel.
        He is relentlessly consistent take the car out of the equation and just watch the performance over the entire weekend.

      14. Rudy says:

        +1. Schu was incredible at times, but also the engineers behind him and the budget to test. When he returned in 2010 he didn’t showed a bit of his former self. 3 seasons and no wins! That tell us the man was highly overrated. Look at Raikkonen, he is not blindingly fast as his McLaren years but has something and there he is sniffing podiums all year long. Vettel, as you say, would need to turn, let’s say Ferrari, into a winning machine again. Then we could judge if he is up there with the Senna, Prost, Scumacher. At the moment, I think he is a very good driver obtaining the benefits from a GREAT car in a motivated environment.

      15. anon says:

        I’m still waiting for Hamilton and Alonso to win championship at multiple teams. I guess we can dismiss their achievements too. Alonso has half the championships of Vettel and Hamilton a quarter.

      16. Doug says:

        +1

        I feel Vettel & Schumi both suffer(ed) from having the deck stacked in their favour. Both are/were quick, both talented, but priority treatment dilutes their greatness. When LH went up against the double World champ Alonso in his rookie year and looked good…that stamped his greatness.
        Vettel needs to be paired with another World champion to prove his level of talent..for me, until then, the jury’s still out.

      17. SteveS says:

        It’s slightly comical to see how overrated Vettels cars constantly are. Every Red Bull he’s ever driven gets described as if it is a cross-breed between a MP4/4, FW14B, F2004, SR-71 Blackbird, and Millennium Falcon.

        They’re decent cars but far from being as fabulous as people make them out to be. You can’t have cars that good in the modern rules era. If the RB cars were even half as good as they’re made out to be then Webber would not be fifth in the WDC again this year, he’d be second … as Patrese, Villeneuve, and Barrichello were in genuinely great cars.

      18. Bartholomew says:

        It’s disingenuous to claim 10 out of 22 would be in the same position as Vettel. Certainly 10 wouldn’t have made such light work of Webber. 10 wouldn’t have won for STR, or finished top 8 in the standings in the STR3. At most, it’s Hamilton, Raikkonen and Alonso, and even then, Alonso has been lacklustre this year, Raikkonen poor in a title challenger in 2008, and Hamilton underachieving more than Vettel ever has, in 2011.

      19. Mark Saunders says:

        Did Senna do what you ask from Vettel? Because Senna won his three titles with only one car and it was the best car. When it was no longer the best car, he porposed to drive for Williams for free in order to have the best car.

  5. Ahmad Khan says:

    What if Newey was planning to go to Ferrari in 2015 or 2016 with Vettel? They both don’t have long-term contracts with RBR.

    Newey would surely want to work once in his life for the most legendary F1 team, the only major team he hasn’t worked for. It would be very likely to happen if Ferrari flop in the next two years again.

    Maybe Prodromou was not keen to move to Italy with Newey?

    1. Rich B says:

      newey turned down offers from Ferrari a couple of times

      1. Flying lap says:

        Yes, but did not extend his contract more than a couples of years at the same time.

        For Vetel, it would be normal a move to Ferrari.

        Another reason for Alonso to look somewhere else.

      2. Ahmad Khan says:

        I am not aware he turned them down recently, I think it was the other way round. In the early noughties, Ferrari didn’t need him because they were winning anyway.
        He also had family commitments to stay in the UK, but as far as I can see from his body language in recent interviews, nothing is stopping him now from moving on for a new challenge.
        Alonso’s attempted move to RBR will surely have made it clear to Ferrari that it is not enough having great drivers if you don’t have a great technical team building and developing a great car.
        Was it not for Alonso, Ferrari would have looked even worse in the last few years.
        They desperately someone like him, and sooner or later, will have to break the bank for him.

      3. Will Wu says:

        since it is a couple of timed, it means Ferrari is not hesitating to make the offer again and again. You never know, he might want the challenge then.

    2. Random 79 says:

      I’ve heard that Newey does not want to move to Italy, although if you were in Ferrari shoes you might be willing to let him work from home…or maybe just move your entire base to where Newey is! ;)

      1. fox says:

        not Newey, but his wife.
        once she said Italy was a third grade country.

      2. Baghetti says:

        Does the name ‘ John Barnard’ sounds familiar to you?:-)

      3. Rudy says:

        Yep! Working for Ferrari from Britain. Didn’t worked.

    3. KRB says:

      My feeling with Newey, from prior comments of his, is that he’s not particularly fond of Ferrari at all. Comments he made after active suspension was banned was that basically he chalked it up to Ferrari not being able to get a handle on it.

      Anything can happen, but I doubt if Newey will ever go to Ferrari.

      1. Sebee says:

        Why would he? To be told his innovations have limits? To be told no man is greater then Ferrari? He is a man who knows his design freedoms cannot be matched by anyone but Red Bull. Free, and at home. I’d stay at RBR too.

      2. Phil Glass says:

        I think Newey is a romantic at heart. With the exception of RB, he has only worked at the ‘high pedigree’ teams with history, prestige, etc. and none has as much class in that regard as Ferrari.
        I doubt he will stay at Milton Keynes for ever. Honda may lure him to back to McLaren, all of thirty miles away.

    4. tim says:

      Could be. Vettel and Newey are like Schumacher and Brawn. I don’t see one going anywhere without the other.

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        Newey won championships before Vettel so they are probably not so attached…

      2. Rockie says:

        But no one has driven a Newey car like Vettel has.

      3. James Allen says:

        Mansell? Hakkinen?

      4. Monktonnik says:

        Brawn has one them since MSC

  6. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    McLaren Honda looking good for 2015. The fact that Alonso could be leaving Ferrari at the end of 2014 to go there with maybe Ross Brawn at the lead raises expectations. But one question about the article: Who is the second key man from red bull leaving? It only talks about Prodromou.

    1. Flying lap says:

      Exactly!!!

      I understood Newey???!!!!

      Or is it a mistake?

      It is on the air…

  7. Iwan says:

    1. What am I missing? Who’s the second departure?

    2. I think RBR, whether by accident or managed by them, has done well is keep the names of the key players and their exact contributions out of the limelight. I’m sure the whole paddock knows and understands, but you don’t read about their other engineers that much.

    In that light it could be that Prodromou knows something we don’t or that he simply wants the recognition he thinks he deserves. Doing his own thing will increase his market value if it’s done successfully. At RBR he will always be in Newey’s shadow. I figure he’s pulling a Lewis – leaving the nest to carve his own destiny.

    Good for him, good for McL and good for us if it weakens RBR and close up the top few teams.

    Tech structures are getting more and more ridiculous. For a third of money and a fifth of the people and resources teams at the back lap within a couple of seconds of the big teams. How will they EVER get close with top teams hiring two hands full of tech leaders. THIS BUSINESS MODEL OF F1 DOES NOT WORK.

  8. Abdul Rehman Jajja says:

    Feel the Power of Honda

    1. Random 79 says:

      Mmmmmmmmm…tickles a bit… :D

    2. Sebee says:

      Power of Honda that wants a tap into Newey’s secrets?

      A yearned win
      Ad yea winner
      Earned ya win
      Dear aery win

      Once again everyone, think about it, crack the puzzle! :-)

      1. Lawrence says:

        Adrian Newey :|

      2. Sebee says:

        Amazing how many anagrams are possible that feature Win or Winner. I guess he was born to.

        For a moment, read “Dear Aery Win” a few times over to yourself and try to absorb it. What are the chances of an aero genius winning in a sport that’s so aero dependant having that as their name anagram? Being paid by a company on a marketing effort in a sport so dependant on marketing also leaving “Ad Yea Winner” as annother anagram or Yea Ad Winner if you wish. And “A Yearned Win” being just so poetic. Damn it, is there anything that’s not meant to be with Newey? :-)

    3. H.Guderian says:

      YES!!!
      And VET should be scratching his head.
      He WILL be exposed. Sooner or later.
      Can’t wait.

      1. Sebee says:

        Keep on waiting! How many more Vettel WDCs before your wait ends? :-)

      2. Random 79 says:

        Don’t be negative!

        Guderian will be the happiest guy in the retirement village :)

      3. SteveS says:

        I’m sure that one of these years Vettel will finally fail win the WDC, and then you can console yourself with the thought that he has been “exposed”. At least until he wins it again the next year …

      4. Random 79 says:

        For your enjoyment, here’s a list of other World champions that have been “exposed”:

        Jenson Button
        Lewis Hamilton
        Kimi Räikkönen
        Fernando Alonso
        Michael Schumacher
        Mika Hakkinen
        Jacques Villeneuve
        Damon Hill
        Alain Prost
        Nigel Mansell
        Ayrton Senna
        Nelson Piquet
        Niki Lauda
        Keke Rosberg
        Alan Jones
        Jody Scheckter
        Mario Andretti
        James Hunt
        Emerson Fittipaldi
        Jackie Stewart
        Jochen Rindt
        Graham Hill
        Denny Hulme
        Jack Brabham
        Jim Clark
        John Surtees
        Phil Hill
        Mike Hawthorn
        Juan Manuel Fangio
        Alberto Ascari
        Nino Farina

        No one wins forever.

      5. Sebee says:

        Wow wow wow Random, hold up! Schumi was exposed? When?

      6. Random 79 says:

        @Sebee

        Yep I knew someone would pull me up on one of them, but I honestly thought it would be Senna (I was kind of keeping an eye out for the flaming pitchforks).

        OK, the whole point of that reply was that Guderian seems to think that if Honda produce a good engine in 2015 and Vettel is beaten by someone powered by Honda then all of a sudden he wouldn’t be classed as a world champion driver anymore i.e. he would have been “exposed” (as a fraud presumably – Guderian can clarify if he wants to).

        In Schumi’s case he had major success at Benetton and then later at Ferrari, but when things changed and he started being beaten by Alonso at Renault did it mean he was any less of a world champion? No.

        So why would Vettel be any less of a world champion if (or when) he is eventually beaten by someone else who has a better overall package at the time?

        Hopefully now you see what I was trying to say, but more to the point hopefully now Guderian is the one who has ended up scratching his head ;)

      7. Sebee says:

        Random, I find it funny in general with this subject comes up. As in it’s Newey who’s winning. It’s the blown defuser. It’s flexi [mod]

        These must be the same people who look for prizes in cerial boxes hoping an F1 WDC will be in one of them.

        We have champions we like and champions we don’t. But they don’t give F1 championships in cerial boxes. You have to earn it. There is a reason why the 4xWDC club is so light on members. It’s not easy. Even less easy is to put together 4 in a row. Even less easy and first time ever is to go from 1st WDC to 4th WDC all in a row.

        I like integrity, and I’ll tell you something that lets me sleep well at night this season. Vettel and RBR. :-) Seriously, I have been so irritated at this whole tire thing, that the fact that they were in the lead before tire changed, success on interm 1 race tire and changed tires gives me comfort that the result of this year’s WDC is not in question and end result is basically as it would have been anyway.

        And you’re right Random, no one on this list is any less of a world champion. Quite an elite list this 32. Bernie should invite all living WDCs to a party of some sort – pre-paid to ensure they show up. Actually, didn’t that happen for some F1 anniversary recently?

      8. Adam says:

        Clark was never exposed…

      9. Random 79 says:

        @Adam

        In 1963 Clark won 7 of the 10 races to become WDC, an then in 1965 he won 6 out of the 10 races to become a double WDC.

        Clearly he was a champion, but in between (1964) he only won 3 races, and then in 1966 he only won 1 due to the uncompetitive Lotus he had that year.

        According to what Guderian said about Vettel, if a previously successful driver like Clark has a bad year then obviously they’re not as good as people thought and so have been “exposed” (as he puts it).

        I disagree; I think any driver who wins the WDC is worthy of being called champion (and even some that never won the WDC like Moss) even if they end up with a bad car and bad results later on.

        I wrote that list to try and prove a point. I could have selected certain drivers, left out others and explained my reasons for doing so, but no matter how I did it you can guarantee someone would have disagreed.

        So instead I just listed all world champions past and present with the statement no-one wins forever.

        I stand my ground on that, but add that they are all still champions :)

    4. Rob Newman says:

      We felt it for years until they packed their bags and left!

  9. Louie says:

    Great article as always James. Love to hear things from all aspects of F1 – in this case the always fascinating technical side of things.

    Greetings from New Zealand!

  10. Aadil Khota says:

    The beginning of the end of Red Bulls glory days???

    Nothing lasts forever eventually something always has to give and so something gave at Red Bull.

    1. Sebee says:

      Or a new challenge and motivator for RBR.

  11. Sean says:

    Who is the right hand man?

    1. Random 79 says:

      No idea, although RBR is clearly a bit less armed.

      1. Sebee says:

        Newey is left handed anyway.

  12. Roger says:

    Surely it would be very difficult to stop,say,Prodromou from working ‘remotely’ from home with McLaren if he was given extended gardening leave, or even if he was given some arbitrary function by Red Bull. He just would’nt be at the factory, but he would be able to have access to all available data.

    1. HBT says:

      The second Red Bull got a sniff of anything like that, they’d slap a writ on McLaren so fast it would make your head spin. Having both been on gardening leave myself, and watched a company I worked for pursue (successfully) a former colleague of mine who was caught working for his new employer whilst supposedly on gardening leave I can tell you companies monitor this sort of thing, they will find out, and they will take action if there is a breach of contract.

      1. Benalf says:

        RBR will probably hire the services of the US NSA and spy on Prodromou to make sure he doesn’t leak RBR secrets…. but he will anyway by copying RBR secrect manual at a copy shop near Woking…. that sounds familiar!

    2. CYeo says:

      I don’t think McLaren want Spygate Part 2.

      Can they afford another 100 million fine?

      1. W Johnson says:

        Sure….but equally how many of McLaren’s secrets have been spilled onto the Mercedes team this year????

      2. Peter says:

        How many of McLaren’s secrets were spilled to red bull
        when Newey and Prodromou left them for Red Bull?

        The professional skills and knowledge of individuals do not
        belong to a company. Part designs and documents belong to
        the company.

      3. Tim says:

        Based on current form, it’s hard to imagine what secrets McLaren have got that would be of interest to Mercedes ;-)

  13. Glennb says:

    Does “right hand man” have a name?

      1. Random 79 says:

        …and finally there’s your Olympic link ;)

    1. uncas says:

      He’s Rob Marshall

      1. Raymond Yu says:

        Marshall is working alongside Prodromou. He is not the right hand man.

    2. Sebee says:

      Newey is left handed. :-)

  14. i would tend to think that this is a good move for F1. 2014 is heading for mighty changes and staff as well as a few driver changes may just be what is needed to alter the status quo.

    yes, the big teams will still be big but it just may be the catalyst for some stronger/better racing if pirelli and their trash tyres are taken out of the equation. by that i mean that pirelli are no longer calling the shots re performance and the benefits that favour certain teams.

    great engineering creativity stems from challenge and the future will not be short of that commodity.

    1. Aren’t the tires being produced to the specifications of the Ecclestone directives??

      1. Random 79 says:

        Not sure about Bernie, but certainly the FIA asked for them.

        In any case, you’re talking about a guy who wanted random sprinklers on the track to spice up the racing.

      2. Chris says:

        And shortcuts… and Gold medals

      3. Random 79 says:

        Yet another Olympic link. Now it’s starting to make sense! :)

  15. Random 79 says:

    Money and career progression are good motives, but could it also be something personal prompting the move?

  16. Rockie says:

    Now its Peter Prodromou thought according to most people RBR is all about Newey?

    1. KRB says:

      RBR is tops on aero, and Prodromou is their cheif aerodynamicist, under Newey. McLaren can’t afford 10m man Newey, so he was the next best ‘get’.

      JA, so is PP on gardening leave now, from RBR? How would a team like RBR compartmentalize the knowledge that a PP would have access to, such that they know a lot, but couldn’t know the entire concept of the car?

      I’m glad for the shake up … F1′s been far too static of late. And glad for Honda’s return … 4 big engine manufacturers can only be good news for F1. Ferrari, Mercedes, RBR, and McLaren as the works teams will have an advantage, but hopefully not too much of one.

      1. Random 79 says:

        +1

        Should be good :)

      2. Tim says:

        There is a delicious piece of irony associated with putting Prodromou on gardening leave. About 15 years ago, a young designer wanted to leave Williams and join McLaren. He successfully sued Williams, and obtained a court ruling that stated he could not be kept away from his work for more than 6 months as it would adversely affect his ability to work in F1 – I am sure you have guessed who that engineer was. None other than Adrian Newey.
        Poor old CH :-)lol

      3. Phil Glass says:

        ..and one of the top corporate lawyers/ barristers in London is actually called Sue Williams.

      4. KRB says:

        That’s hilarious about Sue Williams.

      5. Tim says:

        @Phil Glass
        I suppose it would be too much to hope, that Newey employed Sue Williams to sue Williams ;-)

      6. 4Poivres says:

        If Milton Keynes puts the corporate barristers onto PP, will that be a case of ‘Red Bull gives you wigs’?

      7. Sujith says:

        @KRB yes indeed.

        And it is good to see some development in the engine side. Now freeze the Aero developments from 2014 :P

        Ban any form of exhaust gas manipulation. I really don’t want to be talking about diffusers and floor holes anymore.

      8. Random 79 says:

        In 2014 the gases will exit via one single exhaust in the centre right at the back. If the engineers can find a way to benefit from that I take my hat off to them…actually scratch that; I should probably say when they do :)

      9. Rockie says:

        You might be glad but what you miss about redbull is its a slick racing organisation am sure you didnt know thier chief strategy was prized away by Ferrari and they are still the best when calling in race strategy also now its all about Prodromou as I said earlier Lotus and Sauber can also get the aero to work almost like the bulls Mclaren might take him but they still dont have Vettel the Mclaren were the fastest cars last year and still finished behind.

      10. KRB says:

        I can assure you I haven’t missed the fact that RBR is a top drawer racing outfit. I’ve said many times they are hands-down the best team around right now, in terms of strategy, pitwall calls, and pit work.

        Again, it’s not ALL about Prodromou … please re-read the posts above. Newey still is there, and he’s the greatest asset in F1 right now. But Prodromou is a key man.

        Your post has quite the pleading feel to it … pleading, and a lack of nous. At least that’s what I get from reading it.

        As for the 2012 McLaren, show me someone who would take that car over the RB8, knowing their respective records in terms of pure speed, consistency, and reliability, and I’ll show you a total fool.

      11. clyde says:

        hi rockie Does vettel pay your food bills ?? :-)

  17. tara says:

    sorry just to clarify

    who is the second signing?
    is it Marcin Budkowski who now works at red bull but has worked for ferrari?

    1. Robins says:

      He is already with McLaren

  18. goferet says:

    As they say, the only thing that doesn’t change is blooming change itself.

    Yes our JA on F1 makes a good point about Newey’s future when you have his loyal lieutenants looking for different pastures.

    Add to this, we have the star driver who made a 1 year extension to his contract probably after Newey was urged to stay on one more year.

    So yeah, very interesting developments at Red Bull and if Newey really retires, oh boy, will there be a scramble in the paddock as elbows come out to fill the power void.

    Meanwhile, one can’t help admire sports people (in every discipline) for the pressure, disappointment and scrutiny must weigh a tonne.

    As for Prodromou, on paper seeing as he has achieved so much with Red Bull, it would appear like Mclaren have made a good signing but then again, Prodromou was at Mclaren during it’s most difficult time with only 3 driver titles to his name >>> two of which were achieved when Newey was there and the other was simply due to Senna’s brilliance. So not too sure how this will pan out.

    Anyway at least Mclaren are trying to make engineering things better at the team and that’s all that matters.

    P.s.

    On the other side of the coin, could it be that some people within Red Bull feel like is too easy at the moment and so have decided to look for a challenge else where to keep the competitive juices flowing.

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Vengance for McLaren after Newey was poached, good for them indeed, it does all sound a bit Ron Dennis to me.

      I’d say they’d want to do it to escape from Newey’s shadow, so Prodromou and lets call him Kato or Robin ;) can get some credit for their work, to lose the ‘nice idea but it’s really all Newey’ tag.

      It’s Prodromou saying I’m no No.2, I’m no Massa, I’m no Webber.

      Perhaps Ferrari have offered Newey a UK based deal, a la Barnard, doing F1 aero and also designing an all new Ferrari boat! Anything to get his input and get him away from Red Bull.

      For the incredible work Horner has done, his biggest mistake may yet be not crediting Newey’s successors or future-proofing the team, post-Newey.

      One thing though, if Newey does retire and there are no significant rule changes, his amazing aero designs could help carry the team for a year or two after he has gone.

    2. KRB says:

      Senna was very good in 1991, but Williams had bad reliability (well, Berger did too), plus the McLaren had better hp at more races. And of course Mansell’s DSQ in Portugal that year … was that when he reversed in the pitlane?

      Senna had only 3 non-finishes that year, though he scored 3 pts in Britain (the iconic lift back with Mansell), while Mansell had 6 (plus the DSQ). Can’t give away 5 points-scoring opportunities to a driver like Senna and hope to beat him.

      1. goferet says:

        @ KRB

        Merci for the info

  19. ACx says:

    First up, glad others are making the Newey / Ainslie connection. I add to that the notion that Red Bull are the sort of sponsor that would back them. Also, I can well imagine all that computing power for CFD at RBR could come in useful. Keeps Newey out of rival’s hands too. And what a British dream team (…traditionally financed by anything but British money), right?

    Um, not really explored much as to exactly why these two guys are leaving RBR. Is it not likely the case that its like when Newey himself left Williams? He was under Pat Head, like these guys are now under Newey. Seems to me they simply want promotion to a Newey type position which isn’t possible when Newey is there already. I don’t think its a negative reflection on Newey or RBR, just normal proper career advancement.

    Which is a bit sad, because that means no Newey/Ainslie Americas Cup team any time soon. Given the reg changes, it means a whole new development cycle what will last for a good few years. I doubt Newey would start on that unless he was in it for the long haul. I cant seem him doing the initial design work, the leaving a year later, or something. Surely he’d want to see it through? And of course, designing an Americas Cup yacht would have to be a full time job. He couldn’t possibly do both.

    1. Ben says:

      I was very excited to hear the Ainslie wanted to start a British America’s cup team because we have the sailing talent and engineering talent so could really do something amazing. My first thought when I heard it was – wasn’t Newey saying that he was interested in America’s cup. Lets hope they can get the funding together because it’s not cheap!

      1. I know says:

        An America’s Cup campaign will take a few year’s to get started. Red Bull already sponsor the America’s Cup itself, as well as Team Oracle, but I don’t know if that’s a help or hindrance – certainly, America’s Cup sailing is the kind of sport that both Newey and Mateschitz enjoy. If there is a British team, having Newey on board would also be a great asset in terms of marketing – he’s more or less the public face of British engineering.

        Also, I don’t think Ben Ainsley would publicly voice his wish for British campaign if he thought it impossible (after all, he’s still an important member of the team that’s just won it). But of course, getting a competitive team together costs hundreds of millions – and even more than in F1, if you’re not competitive (Artemis, Luna Rossa, Aleph, …), you might as well not start.

      2. KRB says:

        A few years? The next one will be 2016, so are you saying a challenge can’t be mounted from an Ainslie-led UK outfit in that time? Sure it could. The development race really only kicked off in the last year, this last time.

  20. Richardd says:

    I believe he will like to make a name for himself before Newey probably leaves

    1. Sebee says:

      Odds of that happening? Let’s be honest…zero to nil.

      What I see in this is a few things. First, quiet admition by McLaren that aero will be a huge factor in F1 in 2014. After all, the more aero efficient the design the less energy is required to move the car through air, the less fuel is wasted from the 100Kg per race allocation, the ligher the car can be. Or more of that 100Kg of fuel can be used to push the car forward faster.

      Newey has always expressed interest in America’s Cup as long as I can remember his name. 2014 rules on race fuel limit and new power plants give Newey basically America’s Cup on wheels type of a challange to overcome. Just as boat needs to be efficient in water to optimize limited power of the win, 2014 cars will need to be efficient to optimize different power plants and fuel limits. He’s probably very excited about the challange. It’s almost as if the 2014 rules were made for him if you think about it. Sucks for everyone else really.

  21. Chow Loon says:

    Can the mysterious “Right hand man” not be named?

  22. Richard says:

    It begs the question how much is the work credited to Newey actually Prodromou’s, I suspect more than is visible. Therefore he wil of course be going for more money, but also greater visibility, and higher up the structure. It could be that some of the men at McLaren will be moved sideways or disposed of in the fullness of time. This is exactly the sort of thing that will attract Alonso, Hamilton or even Vettel in the long term if Red Bull take a dive as a consequence. One thing is for sure Horner is not happy at the loss, and there will be good reason for that.

  23. McLaren78 says:

    I think the speculation on Newey’s future had already started when Vettel extended his contract by only a year. The thought back then was that Vettel aligns his remaining RBR career with that of Newey. Prodromou’s departure just reinforces this.

    1. Sebee says:

      Either that or they were simply syncing contract timing at Red Bull recognizing that a certain core of the team exists and needs to be addressed at same time.

  24. FernanDino says:

    It could be that McLaren has tripled their salary. Or that the current cycle is coming to an end.
    But then, so what? Prodromou is not known to have helped produce lots of title-winning cars in his previous stint at McLaren, which lasted 15 years.
    I am certain that aerodynamicists alone do not make a title-winning car. Stable management certainly helps but what matters most, by far, is the chief designer.
    And BTW, Newey said he was unsure if he would continue 10 years ago.

    1. James Allen says:

      Red Bull could easily match and double any salary McLaren offered – if they wanted to. This isn’t just about money.

      1. Flying lap says:

        And what about Newey singing for Ferrari allready with Vettel?.

        You mentioned it as a future posibility.

        But if it is done already for 2015 or 2016?.

        Alo´s moves to McL would fit with it, I see.

      2. KRB says:

        Newey singing for Ferrari allready with Vettel

        “Newey sings Bocelli” … I imagine some gawdy album cover from the 60′s … something like this: http://bit.ly/1aBpgii

        For Con te partiro, Vettel will do Brightman’s parts (or Celine’s if you’re North American). Magic!

      3. Doug says:

        He’s already been signed by Decca for a charity record to support the Errectile Disfunction Foundation.

        He’ll be singing under his stage name…

        Flacido Domingo

        ..I’ll get my coat! :-D

      4. Flying lap says:

        Is there anyone at work?
        Or everyone at home, alone?.

        Good on ya, Silvester!!!

      5. KRB says:

        Yeah, thought that too. Do you have any knowledge of RBR offering to match-and-then-some PP’s offer from McLaren?

  25. David Goss says:

    This seems like a smart move from McLaren – although they might not get to use Prodromou until 2015, presumably Red Bull will garden leave him and not be able to use him either, which will weaken their in-season development to some degree.

    Plus, it has a destabilising effect on Red Bull – you can see how rattled Horner is. See also Whitmarsh’s comments about Alonso causing problems at Ferrari.

    People are going on about McLaren/Honda for 2015 but they’ll be my left field bet for 2014 as well – they’ve been working on the car a long time, they have the Mercedes engine, they’ll have a learned a lot this year, and the car will be built around Button.

    1. James Allen says:

      No relation of Tim Goss the McLaren technical director?

      1. Clear View says:

        Don’t understand.

      2. Random 79 says:

        David Goss / Tim Goss

      3. David Goss says:

        Nope, no relation, although that would be cool.

      4. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Certainly better than Matt Goss or Luke Goss…

        The 2014 McLaren may have started work early, but that’s no guarantee of a great car. Remember BMW saying to the world they are concentrating on next years car, not pleasing Kubica, and it didn’t turn out too hot.

        Also, will the Merc engine be exactly the same as the works team in their final year? Will they be able to work out the tyres for a full campaign attack? Surely they can sort the stiff car bouncing suspension though! Hope they do get back in the mix, not just top the speed trap times.

      5. Random 79 says:

        I assume you mean Matt Goss the singer and not Matt Goss the cyclist ;)

      6. David Goss says:

        According to my Dad, we used to get excited calls at the house (when we were listed in the phone book) asking if we were related to Matt and Luke.

    2. Flying lap says:

      According to Sam Michael (McL), 2014´s McL-Merc relationship could be very cold and, for that reason, not as prosper as before.

      http://www.caranddriverthef1.com/formula1/noticias/2013/05/30/75231-mclaren-ve-inevitable-que-su-relacion-con-mercedes-vaya-disminuyendo

      1. Random 79 says:

        At a guess I would say that McLaren are going to be using the entirety of 2014 as in season testing to get ready for an full on assault with Honda in 2015.

        That is of course unless in 2014 they happen to luck into a race winning design out of the box, much like they unlucked into a race losing design in 2013 ;)

      2. Sujith says:

        Yep :) Honda can sit back and learn from the mistakes Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault are bound to make :P

    3. KRB says:

      As Brawn said, the engine manufacturers can only supply one spec of engine to their team and all their customers. So any engine development through the year will be tailored to the works team.

      McLaren know this, which is why they’re moving to be Honda’s works team.

  26. Guillermo says:

    I think this shows that technical talent may be more scarce than driving talent!

    James, how many team principals would sign Red Bull’s technical team ahead of their drivers?

    My guess is every single one!

    1. Flying lap says:

      Except for McLaren, maybe.

      1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        I bet McLaren would sign back Newey, Alonso and Hamilton in a minute.

      2. Javier Marcelo says:

        Me too, hehe.

        But that is not gonna happen. It would be a great year to see, anyway.

      3. Tim says:

        I can’t get over the way McLaren are openly pursuing Alonso. Just how highly do they rate him? To still want him in their car, after all the grief he gave the team, must mean he is very highly regarded indeed!

      4. James Allen says:

        If you look they are being openly aggressive on hirings – eg signing Prodromou and then saying so during a race weekend.

      5. Flying lap says:

        Yes James.

        Tim, have a look at the last few years standings (final ones, each season), and in all the points Alonso scores every year is the answer. Alo is a guaranty of a good car -even average- getting home every race, on top.

        And he is a big resourse to attract big corporates´s interest arround him and to the team he is.

        He, even now, is the best driver to be paid (not paid driver…), miles away from second one.

      6. Richard says:

        Just because someone is winning the championship does not mean they are the best driver. While I support Hamilton as a British driver, I have come to respect Alonso immensely as he has demonstrated just how good a driver he is at pushing an underperforming car forward in the race. Hamilton has drawn his horns in compared to how was in 2007/2008 because of the tyres and underperforming cars. Whilst it has to be said that Ferrari’s are generally fast starting, McLaren are absolutely right in their pursuance of Alonso as the best driver on the grid currently. I think it would be amazing to give Alonso and Hamilton the chance to drive as team mates again if they can agree, but I hope we can get rid of these silly tyres and see some genuine racing again where drivers can push to the limit of the car for sustained periods.

      7. Tim says:

        @ James
        I guess McLaren want to send a message, loud and clear, they are taking steps to stop the rot. They need to make sure the sponsors (and fans?) know they are still a force to be reckoned with.

  27. Adam says:

    >>With a major rule change like 2014, a huge amount of evolution and development goes on in the first season. A team does not want a man at the helm through that period, who is jumping ship at the end of the year.<<

    So they put him on gardening leave, but that can extend no longer than 6 months, established UK law based on Newey from Williams to McLaren. Christian Horner really wants to keep him to the end of his contract he has to keep him in place, on the new car, until six months to go. UK Law give him no other options. Christian Horner is rattled about this whole process and it does not bode well. He try's to force people to stay he will trash any team spirit and make recruitment harder. He needs to set this aside and go recruit himself.

    1. Jota180 says:

      Exactly, unless RB can persuade him to not to go, he’ll be clocking in at Woking in a few month’s time

    2. Rockie says:

      No need to put him on gardening leave he is contracted to end of 2014 with redbull all they need to do is move him to another spot in redbull and he still goes to work everyday till then!

  28. Sujith says:

    The higher they (RBR) are, the harder they fall…

    1. Random 79 says:

      Webber found that out in Valencia. Never gets old :)

      1. Sujith says:

        @Random 79 yep :P That never gets old :P

      2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Nice.

        You’d think he’d have learned his lesson from Le Mans ’99!

        Maybe he’s going for a full house, fly a Le Mans Merc, fly an F1 Bull and perhaps fly an Indycar at the brickyard. An alternative triple crown of motorsport to Graham Hill’s.

      3. Random 79 says:

        I’d like to see Vettel try and break that record ;)

    2. xyler says:

      Best current example: McLaren.
      Till now no podest this season and I’m sure it will stay so.
      For a team like McLaren a deep fall …

      1. Random 79 says:

        You’re right, but it’s only been one season and McLaren may bounce back quickly.

        If you’re looking for a confirmed example of an extended hard fall think Williams. Just thinking about it probably the best (or maybe worst) part is they still haven’t hit the bottom.

      2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Williams were close to the title with Montoya in 2003, before their previously alright Michelin’s were deemed illegal at Monza and we had a tyre change mid-season! Thank goodness that never happened again…

        But still 10 years is a long time.

        Which is why I personally challenge Mr Adrian Newey to return to Williams, to try and make them front running contenders again, heck to make them F1 champions again!

        Go on, step out of Patrick Head’s shadow and prove it wasn’t all Head the last time, or just ermmmm Hakkinen at McLaren or ermm just Dietrichz’s cash ;) Imagine the engineering kudos of a Maldonado-Williams drivers title!!

      3. Robert says:

        You have confused the car with the team – a great team can occasionally produce a poor car, especially with almost no testing and huge design changes. That doesn’t mean the team has disintegrated, that means they made a few (bad) miscalculations that are fundamental and were not caught in the computer simulations. But the team itself is solid, and with revised aero tuning data for this style car should be a force next year.

  29. Seifenkistler says:

    The german Wettbewerbsverbot (non compete clause) is up to 2 years if written in the contract. Mine is this way.

    Wonder which law applies: international, european, UK, austrian, …

    Wish we would have this at soccer. All these overpaid players who kinds refuse to play if they want to leave to another club. 2 years not being allowed to play professional soccer in another team, that would be something good.

    1. BW says:

      Milton Keynes isn’t in Germany.

  30. Valentino from montreal says:

    Ross Brawn is heading to McLaren too !

    1. H.Guderian says:

      And Alonso.
      A dream team, for sure.

  31. Peldo says:

    I have always admired Mclaren’s ability to get funding. How do they do it? Where all this money for top people come from? Will Honda put some serious pile of cash on top of engines. Maybe they decided that this time Honda is on top of time sheets after their own team failure. Seems that Mclaren never has funding problems. Not even after year like this. Williams went down with results but McL is immune. Any thoughts?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Last I heard no one has confirmed who their new title sponsor is after Vodafone.

      2014 Honda McLaren Mercedes?

      1. Hoovie says:

        Well, we had the Ferrari powered “BWM Sauber” of course for a year, after BMW packed their bags and sold their shares back to Peter.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Very good point :)

      3. 4Poivres says:

        And for those of us old fogies with longer memories, we had the Leyland Williams-Ford thirty-odd years back.
        More recently, there was the strange case of the Lotus Renault that became the Lotus-Renault.

      4. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        2014 Telmex To Keep Perez For Another Year Please McLaren Mercedes?

      5. Random 79 says:

        Lol…sorry I meant sad but true :)

      6. 4Poivres says:

        Do Telmex still make cheap watches?

  32. SteveS says:

    “powerful influence behind the scenes with the governing body and the commercial rights holder.”

    As manifested how? The rules have been changed every year (and sometimes illegally during the season) to try to prevent Red Bull from winning. The governing body has done them no favors.

    “a clearly irked Red Bull team principal”

    He may be irked for all I know, but it is simple common sense for RB to delay as long as possible Prodromou’s move to McLaren.

  33. Zombie says:

    James, where do you see RBR 5 or 10 years down the line from here ? Yes, they’ve had enormous success of late, and at some point that curve will peak and key resources will leave. RedBull is not a car manufacturer. Heck ! They dont have anything remotely automotive when it comes to financials. What happens when success starts to elude them? Would they even care to be in F1 then? Or would they go back to being just the sponsors and sell off the team ?

    Secondly, are Ferrari on a hiring spree as well ? Their aero is obviously the weakest link, and Rory Byrne coming back may help them a bit. But Rory is almost 70 yrs old, and is probably already the oldest working member in the entire F1. Given the firing and rehiring of Kimi, continuing to stay with Domenicalli despite his failures, a dissapointing Pat Fry, and starting 2014 with the weakest engine ( maybe something to do with Gilles Simons and Paolo Martenelli leaving ?), does Ferrari have a plan at all ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Great question – I really don’t know. As automotive isn’t core business for Red Bull, it’s not got a direct link.

      1. Phil R says:

        I always wondered if they might go down the licensing of Gordon Murray’s T25/T27 route. Distribution would require some set up, but there must be hoards of Peugeot/Citroen/Vauxhall/Renault and just about every other manufacturer out there who would happily give some showroom space over to a new brand.

      2. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Don’t forget their soap box derby racers!

        They’ve got so much cash they’ll probably come up with a car that runs on the stuff! 6 pack of Red Bull, 1 to keep me alert and 5 for mi car.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Rumour has it that Toro Rosso might be sold, so that’s one step on the way to an F1 exit.

      As James says Red Bull do drinks, not cars. RBR is just basically one of the most – if not the most – expensive advertising machines on the planet. If they stop winning, what’s the point?

      Red Bull: Gives you mid to lower field finishes.

      Doesn’t work nearly as well ;)

      1. SteveS says:

        You could make that argument about the car companies too. If they’re not winning, what’s the point of being in F1? “Ferrari/Mclaren/Mercedes make second rate cars”? I believe Mercedes is already thinking this way and eying the exit.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Caterham also comes to mind, especially when you consider that they’re trying to launch an all new car that’s linked to F1…allegedly ;)

        Mercedes have invested a lot and have just started to hit their stride a bit so barring disaster they should be around for a while, but it will depend a lot on how their new engine goes and the kind of results they get with it in the next few years.

  34. Will Wu says:

    Adrian Newey is left-handed. So I guess losing his “right-hand man” isn’t the problem for him. Lol.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Lol nicely done, but please don’t lol your own jokes – I’ve heard it’s bad form ;)

  35. Freeman says:

    There just jumping ship before webber spills the beans!

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      With Webbo’s bad luck the beans will probably spill from his gearbox after they mix up his oil and catering supplies.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Lol :)

        You should drop them your resume – after all, it must be difficult for them to find new and interesting things to go wrong with his car ;)

  36. I know says:

    “With a major rule change like 2014, a huge amount of evolution and development goes on in the first season.”

    - Actually, a huge amount of development for a car under new regulations has already begun this season; and with the championships secure, it is undoubtedly the main engineering focus at RBR right now. But of course, there is never a good time to see a senior engineer move to a different team.

    Kudos for picking up Newey’s America’s Cup interest! He has mentioned it more than a few times, and it is clear that he sees it as the only sport that interests him outside of F1. I very much doubt that he will ever join another established F1 team, but if there is a British AC challenge, he will think very hard about it. He obviously lacks some specific skills, but he could certainly contribute with his experience of running a team of man & machine at the highest level. With the nationality rules for AC boats, it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  37. The Hack says:

    Well Peter Prodromou and Rob Marshall? The man who converts all Newey’s hand drawings into CAD for design, yes Newey still draws by hand, and Rob Marshall (if true he is going) the man in charge of all the technical design of the chassis. These are both huge losses and proof of two things… Not everybody likes Newey getting £6M per year while they get pittance in comparison and secondly, there truly are no friends in motorsport as the saying goes. Loyalty has no place, money talks. Welcome to F1. Both huge losses to RB but the team has massive strength and depth in reserve if it can be managed in transition.

    1. Doug says:

      I have a friend who is quite high up in RBR.
      He walked past Newey’s office a few years ago to see Adrian staring at a blank sheet of paper on his drawing board. Said friend went for a quick sit down using the ‘facilities’. On his way back to his office, my friend noticed that Adrian had drawn a large circle on his board.
      My friend did a quick calculation and worked out that whilst he’d done a No.2 and Adrian had drawn a circle, Adrian had earned my friends yearly wage. The sum mentioned to me was twice the figure you mentioned. I would suspect that P.P. & R.M. are also quite good at maths. ;-)

      1. The Hack says:

        Doug,
        I suspect that you are absolutely correct and the connections that I have within F1 also tell me that people there have become very tired of the Newey / Horner show where they rub an extremely high class lifestyle (That Redbull pay for but they gladly take) in other employees faces while salaries remain static for the vast majority and they work ever harder.
        They are quite simply no longer held in high enough regard and respect by their employees to retain ultimate loyalty.

      2. 4Poivres says:

        Your friend isn’t Mark Webber is it? He of “not bad for a No 2″ fame….

  38. Rob Newman says:

    I have been thinking about this for a while. There could be another explanation.

    In my opinion, at Red Bull not everyone gets the credit they deserve. The media has not helped in this matter too. All credit goes to Newey all the time. But there are other people who do a lot but don’t even get mentioned.

    I think there are lot of disgruntled employees in Red Bull. People don’t get promoted (they don’t have ‘director’ roles). But people want to move on in their carriers.

    After JA’s interview with Newey, I strongly felt that he enjoys the attention he is getting. Of course he mentioned some other people including Vettel but I felt, he has not given enough credit to others. It is all about himself.

    Before coming to Red Bull his success was very limited. But now he has become arguably the most successful designer in F1. This is very much helped especially by people and media who say it is not the driver but the car to discredit Vettel’s achievement. Could this be the unravelling of Red Bull?

    1. Ange says:

      It seems to me that he’s enjoying the attention, to a larger extent of course, that Patrick Head was enjoying when Newey was at Williams. I definitely don’t know a lot about that period, since I was still in diapers, but I am sure that Newey didn’t get the recognition he deserved then because he wasn’t chief engineer.

      I am pretty sure that’s the way Rob Marshall and Peter Prodromou also feel. Neither of them can get promoted because Newey has the top job so it’s completely normal if you ask me, that they may want to leave and get the recognition they probably deserve.

      I completely respect Newey and admire what he’s achieved, but I think it wouldn’t hurt anyone if once in a while, he publicly acknowledged and named the people that are certainly contributing massively to the success of Red Bull, other than the drivers, Horner, Dr (Evil) Marko, and himself! :)

  39. Patrick says:

    Hi James

    Is it at all possible that Vettel may be driving a McLaren-Honda in 2015? He seems to be a fan of F1 history and said he felt like Senna in Brazil 91 during a race before. It would certainly make for fascinating viewing…

  40. SteveS says:

    Surely Newey’s leaving would encourage Prodromou to stay at Red Bull rather than leave himself? He could reasonably expect to step into Newey’s shoes on his departure.

    On the other hand if Newey was staying at RB indefinitely, THAT might encourage Prodromou to look around elsewhere for a job with more upward mobility.

    On the other other hand, this may have nothing at all to do with Newey. Mclaren may have offered Prodromou so much money he could not refuse.

    1. Random 79 says:

      More money than Red Bull can give him? Not likely.

      I tend to think the general consensus is right; he wants to step out of Newey’s shadow.

      1. SteveS says:

        I have no idea why so many people imagine that Red Bull is the richest company in the world.

      2. Random 79 says:

        They’re not, but they do have one of the biggest F1 budgets.

        If money was the only issue for Prodromou and if Red Bull was that keen to keep him it probably wouldn’t be an issue.

  41. Chris Chong says:

    Here’s hoping Honda actually deliver with the powertrain.

    They’ve not set the benchmark for automobile racing engines in a long, long time, and surely whatever connection they have with the glory days of the 80s/early 90s is all but gone.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Yes, but then you underestimate how much we’re living in the past ;)

  42. FernanDino says:

    I can’t imagine Newey making next year’s RB and then leave the baby to someone else’s care.
    With all due respect to Prodromou and Marshall, if it’s really him, I just can’t figure out how (let’s call them) “second echelon people” (as opposed to chief designers) contribute to making a winning car.
    Last year Ferrari also hired lots of different people but Tombazis remained there and this year’s car is still a lame duck.

    The point I am trying to make is this: The little world of the “specialised” F1 fans is making too much out of these personnel changes.

    The WOW effect McLaren was talking about is not really forthcoming. Not for Peter Prodromou anyway.

    A huge WWOOWWW would be if Adrian goes to Ferrari. But we know for sure that he has repeatedly turned them down.

  43. roberto marquez says:

    As always anything to do with Red Bull ends up on the Vettel controversy.I do not like Red Bull dominance in Formula 1 as in others sports they are backing because I think RB money comes from selling a product I find at the least questionable.It is a mixture of chemicals that produce the effect of accelerating peoples heart and metabolism and I think is forbiden in some countries already.Also they have ties with a “doctor” who worked for the Democratic German Republic in the cold war years and apparently was responsible for flooding their female athletes with male hormones.WINNING AT ALL COSTS SEEMS TO BE RB MOTO.That might explain why some people want to leave.

    1. Bartholomew says:

      Red Bull is just an energy drink. If you don’t overdose on like, 20 of them at once, it’d be fine.

  44. FastNick says:

    Dear James, dear all, I love this blog, it’s by far the funniest of the F1 sites I know of! :-)

    I just want to add this comment. Newey said earlier this season that for 2014 the aerodynamics have been limited so sharply that if it turns to become an engine formula he might not want to continue.
    With this in mind I don’t think he will change employer anytime soon. After 2 or 3 years at McLaren he already said once or maybe twice that even back then he didn’t know for how long we would continue to continue his job.
    So maybe he has a little problem with long term motivation.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH News
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer