McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says the team is open to “opportunities” to bring its new technical director James Key to the team from Toro Rosso as soon as possible.
The team revealed ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix that Key will join the team. However Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost responded by pointing out they still have a long-term contract with.
“We do not yet have a start date. He does have a current agreement with Toro Rosso. Of course we respect contractual situations.”
“I think Toro Rosso and Red Bull are understandably upset that they’re losing a great talent like James Key,” he added. “I think he’s recognised as one of the best technical directors up and down pit lane. So we’re very excited to have him join us in due course.”
The team is looking to reach an arrangement with Toro Rosso to release Key early, Brown indicated.
“There’s always, in the world of Formula 1, ways and opportunities to change situations. That’s certainly something that we would potentially consider.”
Toro Rosso has previously indicated an interest in running McLaren test driver Lando Norris. It may be in need of a new driver if Red Bull promotes Pierre Gasly to Daniel Ricciardo’s vacant seat for the 2019 F1 season.
However Brown said the team signed Key in the full knowledge of how long it could take to bring him into the team.
“We have a plan,” he said. “We obviously knew his current employment situations and are completely comfortable working around that situation.”
Key’s arrival forms part of wider changes at the team. Former racing director Eric Boullier and designer Matt Morris have already left.
“We have done some restructuring, we’re doing some hiring, we’re not done yet, so we’re just head down operating according to the internal plan that we have,” said Brown.
“We have some other things we’re doing in the technical department. So I think that will become clear later in the year, what ultimately we’re going to do as far as give birth to the MCL34.”
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