New McLaren de­sign ace im­parts flavour of Red Bull

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Peter Pro­dro­mou, for­merly Adrian Newey’s right-hand man, gives the McLaren MP4-30 an Alonso-pleas­ing familiar new look

Fer­nando Alonso spent a con­sid­er­able amount of time at the Jerez test deep in con­ver­sa­tion with McLaren’s new chief en­gi­neer, Peter Pro­dro­mou, the team’s star sign­ing from Red Bull.

Pro­dro­mou worked as Adrian Newey’s right­hand man for the best part of two decades, rst at McLaren and then at Red Bull, af­ter Newey in­sisted Pro­dro­mou come with him as part of the pack­age when he joined the Mil­ton Keynes-based team in 2006.

As such, Pro­dro­mou knows all the se­crets that have made the Red Bull cars so com­pet­i­tive over the past six years – as well as those of the racewin­ning McLarens of the early- to mid-2000s.

Alonso tried to se­cure a drive with Red Bull dur­ing the sum­mer of 2014, and got a long way down the line with team boss Chris­tian Horner and Newey, only for Red Bull boss Di­et­rich Mates­chitz to in­sist they take Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, a grad­u­ate of the en­ergy drink rm’s driver devel­op­ment scheme.

But the signs are that Alonso has now ef­fec­tively got his hands on a Red Bull, only one that has been built by McLaren. There are Red Bull signatures all over McLaren’s MP430. Th­ese start at the front wing, which has a very sim­i­lar multi-el­e­ment de­sign aimed at con­sis­tent sta­ble down­force. This re­places the type of wing favoured by McLaren over the past cou­ple of years, which had fewer el­e­ments and cre­ated more down­force, but was more prone to in­sta­bil­ity-in­duc­ing stall.

The top nose shape is also sim­i­lar to that of last year’s Red Bull, and the shrink-wrapped rear body­work – what McLaren call their ‘size zero’ car – is shaped like a Red Bull, only more tightly wrapped around what is clearly a very neatly and care­fully de­signed Honda en­gine.

Alonso was very pos­i­tive about the new McLaren’s be­hav­iour in Jerez, more so than Jen­son But­ton, who found its bal­ance not quite to his lik­ing. If the Honda en­gine is any good, will it also show a Red Bull-style win­ning turn of pace? It would hardly come as a sur­prise.

Alonso (left) wanted to get his hands on a Red Bull, and Pro­dro­mou (right) was only too happy to oblige

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