Formula 1

Franz Tost – Key still has a “valid long-term contract” with Toro Rosso

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James Key - Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda - Technical Director
Credit: Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

It was announced on Thursday, 26 July that James Key, Technical Director with Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda, has been signed by British team McLaren as their technical director.

Key became technical director with the Italian team in 2012, replacing Giorgio Ascanelli.  He had also worked with Sauber, Force India and Jordan.

Key’s signing with McLaren is amid the Woking-based team’s personnel reshuffle, which began at the start of the season.  It has seen Eric Boullier leave the team, after being their racing director for the past four years.  Tim Goss, Chief Technical Officer, also left his post in April, and engineering director Matt Morris has resigned.

However, the change has prompted Toro Rosso Team Principal, Franz Tost, to reiterate the contractual obligations which still stand, and that negotiations have not yet been concluded.

“James has a long-term contract with Toro Rosso.”, said Tost, speaking to Motorsport.com.  “And that’s all what I can say about this.  There’s nothing more to say.”

Tost was asked whether the team were in talks with McLaren regarding Key’s move.

“I think they will come to us.  We will see, or not.  I have no reason to discuss it with them, because we have a contract.  Everything has been said.”, said Tost.

He said that the departure will not affect the team and their plans for future developments.

“Of course, it’s not supporting us, all this story around James.  This is clear.  But I think the team from the technical side is strong enough, and there’s a good view about what we have to do with it all.

“But we simply need also the time.  I hope they will bring some upgrades in the second half of the season, and if they are working as expected, I hope we can close the gap once more.”, he added.

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F1 reporter for The Checkered Flag. Also a second year Journalism student at Robert Gordon University. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @findlaygrant5.
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