James Key, who left Sauber at the start of the 2012 season, has been confirmed as the new technical director of Toro Rosso. This story has been around for a long time, we trailed it well over a month ago, (full story here) but it’s finally been confirmed today officially.
The Englishman, who came up through the ranks at Jordan/Midland/Spyker/Force India has a proven track record of getting plenty of performance on a tight budget. He is credited with turning Sauber around from the team which struggled after the departure of BMW in 2009, to the team which has a front running car today, qualifying 2nd and 4th in Spa.
“James comes to us with a strong reputation and has proved he can help smaller teams punch above their weight,” said Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost. “We cannot expect miracles in the next few races, but James has joined early enough to have an influence on our car for 2013, when we hope to have a better season than this one, even if last weekend’s result in Belgium, with both cars in the points, was encouraging.”
The 40 year old Key replaces veteran Giorgio Ascanelli, who is heading either for Ferrari, or possibly Mercedes, according to the grapevine. Key began work in Faenza on Monday.
“There are clear opportunities coming up through regulation changes and we intend to look not only at the long term, but the short term too,” said Key. “We will be studying the team’s working practices, throughout all the departments, while looking to see which areas need strengthening further. Our aim has to be to move the team up a level in terms of its position within the F1 hierarchy.”
Key was able to make a difference quickly when he parachuted into Sauber in 2010 and Toro Rosso hope that he will be able to do the same again for them.