The McLaren Formula 1 team has confirmed the signing of James Key as its new Technical Director.
The 46-year-old moves from Toro Rosso, where he has been the Technical Director since the 2012 season. Prior to his Toro Rosso stint, Key worked with Jordan (Midlands, Spyker and Force India) and Sauber.
He joined Jordan in 1998 and stayed with the team until it changed its hands with Force India. He left the outfit after 2009 to join Sauber where he worked for two seasons until 2011 – then switching eventually to Toro Rosso.
While his joining is confirmed at McLaren, but the date is yet to be ascertained as he will have to serve a gardening leave period before he can start working. His replacement at Toro Rosso is yet to be named as well.
McLaren is in the re-building process after losing several key members including Eric Boullier and Tim Goss, with its Engineering Director Matt Morris also confirmed to have left the team – although it is not related to Key’s hiring.
The Woking-based team had earlier announced changes within its team after Boullier’s resignation with Gil de Ferran becoming the Sporting Director while Andrea Stella took over the Performance Director and Trackside Operations role.
With Renault this year, McLaren has managed to score more points but the struggles continues for the team as it sits seventh in the championship standings behind the fighting group of Renault, Haas and Force India.
The team under Zak Brown is pushing to get back into winning ways. Apart from the technical hirings, a big question mark still remains on its drivers with Fernando Alonso yet to decide his future – with whom Stoffel Vandoorn’s future hangs on as well.
UPDATE: Toro Rosso finally responded to the news of Key joining McLaren as it states that it has a longterm contract with the director.
“James Key has a long term valid contract with the team,” said Franz Tost. “The contents of the contract are confidential, therefore we won’t comment on any of the details.”