Alfa Romeo has announced the return of James Key to the team as its new technical director following his departure from McLaren.
However he was let go by McLaren earlier this year as new team principal Andrea Stella announced a shake-up of its technical division in response to its poor start to the 2023 season. In addition to returning to a familiar team, Key will be reunited with McLaren’s former team principal Andreas Seidl, who is now group CEO at Sauber.
Seidl said Key will find the team’s operation “has changed a lot since his time here” over a decade ago. “But the same drive, the same commitment that contributed to making the team successful in his previous experience are still the same: I am sure that, together with this very talented and committed team, we will be able to continue on the path of growth on which we have embarked.”
Alfa Romeo’s tie-up with Sauber will end after this season as the team prepares for its new works power unit programme with Audi, which will hit the track in 2026.
“James’s appointment is a crucial step on this journey,” Seidl continued. “He has an outstanding amount of experience in the sport, not just as technical director, but also in various other roles within the technical organisation of a team.
“He will lead the transformation process of the technical side of the team, giving us the tools and direction we need to tackle the future.”
Key will take over from Jan Monchaux when he joins the team at the beginning of September.
“I also want to thank Jan for his precious contribution to taking Sauber to where it is now, following our most successful season in a decade, in which we climbed to sixth place in the constructors’ championship,” Seidl added.
Key said he is “looking forward to leading the technical side of the team at one of the most critical junctures of its long history as we head towards a new and exciting future.
“There is a huge amount of work ahead of us, but I am confident that every single member of our team working in Hinwil will have the commitment, determination and hunger to get us to the top. We know it will require time, effort and perseverance, and the dividends from this work will only arrive over the next two seasons and beyond, but we have a journey ahead of us and a roadmap to follow which I am eager to get started.”
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