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Toro Rosso tech chief Key set for McLaren move

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Toro Rosso tech chief Key set for McLaren move
By:
Jul 26, 2018, 7:32 AM

Scuderia Toro Rosso technical director James Key will join rival Formula 1 outfit McLaren, as the Woking-based team continues to rebuild its organisation.

James Key, Technical Director, Scuderia Toro Rosso, with Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso
James Key, Scuderia Toro Rosso Technical Director and the new Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
James Key, Technical Director, Toro Rosso
Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR13, leads Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33, leads Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR13

Key's impending arrival has been confirmed by McLaren, which has also communicated that chief engineering officer Matt Morris, who was on race weekend duty as recently as Germany last weekend, will be leaving the team.

The news comes following the departure of former chief technical officer (chassis) Tim Goss in April, and racing director Eric Boullier earlier this month.

McLaren was known to be looking for a big name, having confirmed after Goss's departure that it was "undergoing a review of its technical operations as part of its programme to return the team to success".

The 46-year-old Key has long been regarded as one of the most talented engineers in the paddock. He began his career with Jordan in 1998, staying with the team through its Midland, Spyker and Force India incarnations, and rising to the role of technical director.

In his final full season in 2009, Giancarlo Fisichella earned pole position and finished second at Spa.

Key then left to join Sauber in 2010 – and helped to turn an organisation that had hit rock bottom after BMW’s departure into a podium challenger. He went to Toro Rosso in 2012.

Key has always been known for doing a lot with limited resources at a midfield team. His move to a major player – albeit one which perhaps faces a financial squeeze compared to previous years – will thus be watched with interest.

His departure from Toro Rosso will be a huge blow to the Italian team, as he has clearly been one of its major assets in recent years.

It may also have some consequences for Red Bull Racing, as he could have been called upon for advice as the team makes the transition from Renault to Honda, a path that Key has already travelled with STR.

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Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper