The battle between McLaren and Red Bull Racing looks set to be a feisty in the courts as it is on the track. This follows news that Red Bull Racing has rehired Dan Fallows as its new Head of Aerodynamics, following the loss of its own aero ace, Peter Prodromou, to the Woking outfit.
A statement released by Red Bull Racing not only boasted of Fallows’ appointment, but also conceded that it had been unsuccessful in its attempts to keep Prodromou, whose hiring by McLaren created plenty of friction between the two outfits.
Fallows’ CV is quite impressive. After graduating with a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Southampton University, he immediately found employment at Lola Cars, spending four years in its aero department before hitting the F1 circus with Jaguar in 2001. He remained there for four years before a brief stint at Dallara, and returned to the Milton Keynes squad as its aerodynamic team leader, only to be headhunted by McLaren in February last year.
Prodromou, meanwhile, will now commence six months of ‘gardening leave’, meaning he won’t be able to start with McLaren until October which leaves it too late for him to have any significant impact on the team’s 2015 car, the Honda-powered MP4-30.
McLaren hasn’t taken the announcement of Fallows’ rehiring well, swiftly issuing its own statement disputing Fallows’ appointment.
“Dan Fallows has a legally binding contract with McLaren, and the matter is now in the hands of our lawyers,” McLaren’s Eric Boullier is quoted as saying.
McLaren had boasted of Fallows being part of its technical line-up at the start of the season when it launched its MP4-29 racer. But it would seem that the brief marriage is now over, and the matter will now head off to the courts. McLaren can’t force Fallows to remain on board if he doesn’t want to, although some form of financial settlement will no doubt smooth matters over.
Image via Sutton Images
“[We have] made some very important key additions who’ll have a significant input into our future momentum – we’re incredibly pleased and excited to have hired the likes of Peter Prodromou and Dan Fallows, both from Red Bull Racing, and Ettore Griffini and Ciaron Pilbeam from Lotus, as well as more than a dozen top-level engineers from among the best teams in Formula 1,” McLaren CEO Ron Dennis said at the time.