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Furious F1 fellows cry foul over fickle Fallows

NEWS STORY
21/04/2014

Ron Dennis and Christian Horner take verbal swipes at one another as row over aerodynamicist gets messy.

On Saturday, Dennis shed more light on what looks set to be the next big row in F1, the fate of aerodynamicist Dan Fallows.

In January, McLaren Managing Director Jonathan Neale announced a number of new signings as the Woking team seeks to put the misery of 2013 behind it. In addition to Ettore Griffini and Ciaron Pilbeam from Lotus, Neale confirmed that aerodynamicists Peter Prodromou and Dan Fallows were joining from Red Bull.Prodromou's move had already made the headlines when it was announced over the Japanese Grand Prix last year, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber both expressing surprise.

"Peter's a great guy," said Webber, "obviously a huge amount of experience. I always enjoyed working with him. Obviously he's an integral part of the team and did a good job, (he's) been there a long time."

"I only heard of it just now," added Vettel. "As Mark touched on, he's obviously been a very, very strong character in the background responsible for a lot of good stuff that has happened to us over the last couple of years. For sure I hope he stays with us but I don't know. I only just heard, when I got out of the car."

Whilst unwilling to express his full feelings, team boss Horner made it clear that it would be some time before Prodromou - who joined Red Bull in 2007, a year after the recruitment of Adrian Newey, having previously spent fifteen years with the Woking team - would be able to begin work for McLaren.

"We've enjoyed a long relationship with Peter and he's a valuable member of the team," he told Sky F1. "There's still quite a duration left on his contract... we won't force him to stay, and it's his choice to leave at the end of his contract, but we are quite some way off that."

Whilst Prodromou's eventual destination appeared settled, "despite a "period of gardening leave", on April 9, Red Bull announced the appointment of Fallows as its Head of Aerodynamics with immediate effect.

Later that same day, during a phone in press conference, McLaren team boss Eric Boullier revealed: "Dan Fallows has a legally binding contract with McLaren and the matter is now in the hands of our lawyers."

Speaking on Saturday, Dennis revealed that Fallows had indeed signed a legally binding contract with McLaren last September, but that days before he was due to start work at Woking had informed the team that he no longer wanted to make the move.

Claiming that Fallows had no legal basis on which to make such a U-turn, Dennis also said that all efforts to contact him (and Red Bull) to discuss the situation were ignored. He subsequently confirmed that McLaren's lawyers had written to Red Bull but the response had been unsatisfactory.

As far as Dennis is concerned, McLaren wants to know whether Red Bull coerced Fallows into staying with them and whether he had informed the Austrian team that he'd signed a contract with the Woking outfit.

Speaking on Sunday, shortly before the Chinese Grand Prix, it was clear that the situation is likely to get a lot messier as Dennis and Horner took aim.

"There's always a way that you do things," Dennis told Sky Sports F1. "In our sport we have lots of technical regulations that we have to adhere to, and in life there are regulations, it's called the law. You have to adhere to it.

"We are obviously not too happy to be contracting people in a correct and professional way only to find that those contracts are disregarded and ignored."

Asked if the change of management at McLaren might have had anything to do with Fallows decision, Dennis insisted. "Not at all, in fact it wasn't signed with Martin (Whitmarsh) at all, it was one of our managers.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by TheHillsHaveEyes, 22/04/2014 14:13

"Dennis told Sky Sports F1. "In our sport we have lots of technical regulations that we have to adhere to, and in life there are regulations, it's called the law. You have to adhere to it.

This from a Team/Manager disqualified for using illegal technical designs/data belonging to another team!

Am I wrong on both accounts , how much did McLaren get fined for braking both.

"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Stitch433, 22/04/2014 6:28

"@: Testa Rossa, concerning Martin Whitmarsh, I believe that has been arranged. He must have got a fair sum of money for that. Otherwise he would have been all over the media revealing how he has been maltreated but he is not doing that so he must have got something that made up for losing the job."

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3. Posted by Stitch433, 22/04/2014 6:23

"From my point of view Ron Dennis is right here. If I sign a contract with a company, then I have to respect that contract, regardless of who is in charge of that company. Simple as that. "

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4. Posted by testa rossa, 21/04/2014 20:20

"Didn't Martin W. have a contract ...javascript:void(0)"

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5. Posted by Chasdo, 21/04/2014 19:12

"Furious F1 Fellows Fling Fouls Following Fickle Fallows Fiddle-Faddling."

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6. Posted by johnoneill2006, 21/04/2014 19:09

"I watched the interviews on Sky before the race, and my immediate reaction was that I don't like it when journalists (Ted Kravitz in this case) deliberately try to inflame issues so that they can then report on them. Reminds me of that James Bond film with the Carver Media Group, or The Day Today with the fantastic Chris Morris, causing a War to report on it.

I just wonder where McLaren are going with this. They keep talking about removing distractions from the F1 team, but this seems like a huge waste of time and energy."

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7. Posted by ape, 21/04/2014 13:22

"A lot of pots and kettles in F1 ....."

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8. Posted by GoodPublicity, 21/04/2014 13:06

"Presumably contractual obligations on technicians are different from drivers in F1!

PS. Excellent alliteration in the headline!"

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