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July 27, 2018

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McLaren hires Toro Rosso technical director Key

MCLAREN announced the signing of James Key from Toro Rosso as its new Formula One technical director yesterday but its Red Bull-owned rival indicated it would not let him go without a fight.

“James Key has a long-term valid contract with the team,” Toro Rosso principal Franz Tost said on Twitter. “The contents of the contract are confidential, therefore we won’t comment on any of the details.”

McLaren had earlier confirmed a report on the BBC that the Briton, 46, would be joining it after an unspecified period of ‘gardening leave’.

McLaren, preparing for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, also confirmed that engineering director Matt Morris had quit.

F1’s second most successful team, which won titles with the likes of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, has been restructuring its operations and parted company with Racing Director Eric Boullier this month.

Technical head Tim Goss was moved aside in April. Morris was one of a trio of technical bosses and his departure leaves only Peter Prodromou left of the top three as head of aerodynamics.

Brazilian Gil de Ferran, a former Indianapolis 500 winner, has been appointed sporting director with Andrea Stella taking over as performance director.

McLaren ended a three-year partnership with Honda at the end of last year and is now using Renault power units.

But the switch has highlighted the inadequacies of the car’s chassis which the team had previously believed to be one of the best on the starting grid but let down by an unreliable and under-performing power unit.

McLaren has not won a race since 2012 and is currently seventh in the championship, one place and 28 points ahead of Toro Rosso after 11 of 21 races.


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