In this work, we propose a Robin–Robin preconditioner combined with Krylov iterations for the solution of the interface system arising in fluid–structure interaction (FSI) problems. It can be seen as a partitioned FSI procedure and in this respect it generalizes the ideas introduced in [S. Badia, F. Nobile, C. Vergara, J. Comput. Phys. 227 (2008) 7027–7051]. We analyze the convergence of GMRES iterations with the Robin–Robin preconditioner on a model problem and compare its efficiency with some existing algorithms. The method is shown to be very efficient for many challenging fluid–structure interaction problems, such as those characterized by a large added-mass effect or by enclosed fluids. In particular, the possibility to solve balloon-type problems without any special treatment makes this algorithm very appealing compared to the computationally intensive existing approaches.