By now you are most likely aware that McLaren have poached the aerodynamics genius, Peter Prodromou, right out from underneath Red Bull’s watchful eye. Yep, they literally nicked him right off of the shelf labeled “Adrian Newey protégés”.
While McLaren are feeling rather chuffed about the whole incident and it does, indeed, signal that the folks in Woking learned their $100m lesson, they will most likely have to wait a while before setting out his desk and stocking it with a new Swingline and a few #2 Ticonderogas.
That’s because Peter’s contract with Red Bull doesn’t end until the waning hours of 2015. As such, many consider the 2014 season to be Peter’s lame duck residency and even, depending on how miffed Newey is, a possible 12-month gardening leave. McLaren’s managing director, Jonathan Neale told Matt Beer:
“Peter’s a great guy and he’s a core part of their organisation,” he said.
“I can’t see any incentive for Red Bull to release him early.
“We’d be happy if he was starting first thing tomorrow morning, but we do fully respect Red Bull’s position as we do when we’re recruiting anybody from another organisation.
“Peter’s a key part of their operation at the moment and we look forward to welcoming him here.”
That has us all worried about how a brilliant and capable mind such as Peter’s will stay sharp and fit during the desperately dull prison that is gardening leave. We have a few ideas on what Peter might do to keep himself occupied in 2014:
#1- Ferrari’s chops
Review the dog-eared Ferrari technical manual that McLaren got from Mike Coughlin. They made copies at Kinko’s and surely there is still pertinent information to be gained such as how to make a flexible floor without being detected and how to use exotic gasses in tires.
Work with Red Bull by sending them a new plan for the 2014 chassis that is centered on a pull-rod suspension. McLaren has surely proven the concept beyond reproach and Peter could big it up by saying that McLaren are simply lying in wait to pounce with their far superior pull-rod system.
#3- From Russia with love
Peter could go on a mission to Russia and the Ukraine in search of the next 19-year-old kid to fill Sergio Perez’s spot at McLaren in 2015. With all the Russian’s coming into F1 these days, surely Peter can meet secretly with Vlad Putin and work out a deal to secure some Russian cash and a young teen to come with it. He might even be able to find some of Eric Snowden’s NSA data there and see what the American Government knows about Adrian Newey’s 2014 design and who his florist is and what size underwear he uses.
Peter could use the time off to reflect upon what he’s done to Red Bull and more importantly, Helmet Marko. He could design his cubicle at Woking that includes CCTV cameras, armed guards and a moat so Marko’s “justice” can’t reach him. He could even preemptively strike by re-writing Marko’s Wikipedia page replete with Vettel favoritism stories and a juicy story of unrequited love from Webber.
He could start making fun of Adrian Newey at the office by photoshopping funny pictures of him in odd places and positions. He could start an internal propaganda machine that would make the US government proud and create enough derision, confusion and mind-altering impact from within that Sebastian Vettel would start booing Newey when he’s on the podium. He literally could put mustaches on every picture of Adrian in the office and pour weed killer in all of Adrian’s plants. He could steal all the erasers from the tips of Adrian’s pencils and remove a bolt or two from Adrian’s drafting table.
Peter could replace Christian Horner’s trainers with new ones that have Pirelli rubber on the bottom of them instead of the GEOX rubber they come with. This would degrade quickly and prompt silly pratfalls and buffoonery that would humiliate the team and render them ineffectual in 2015.
#7- Jeer Juice
Peter could create a new energy drink called Boo Juice or Jeer Juice and it would be based on the Red Bull recipe that he could easily steal from Dietrich’s office. It would be branded as the drink that gives you boos or jeers. He could photoshop a picture of Vettel to alter it just enough to get around trademark likeness laws and put that on the can with a middle finger promptly displayed instead of the trademark Vettel index finger.
Regardless of what Prodromou does do whilst on gardening leave, we’re sure Red Bull are trying to figure out what to do with the turncoat. McLaren could simply start by sending him a copy of the 2013 races on video to let him know just what kind of hell he’s waling into and what he is expected to fix.