McLaren recruits Toro Rosso tech boss James Key!

James Key Discusses 2017 F1 Technical Regulations with F1i

As it continues its reorganization plans, McLaren has found itself a new technical director in the person of Toro Rosso's James Key who has resigned from the junior bull squad.

Reports from the BBC indicate that the 46-year-old Key will move from Faenza to Woking, the timing of that move likely subject to a period of gardening leave that has yet to be negotiated between McLaren and Toro Rosso.

It is also understood that McLaren engineering director Matt Morris has resigned from his position, leaving just aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou as the sole survivor of the top engineering trio originally appointed by former racing director Eric Boullier, and that also included now departed chief technical officer Tim Goss.

McLaren switched from Honda to Renault power for this season in a bid to extricate itself from the doldrums following a dismal period - the worst in its history - of underperformance.

However, the Woking-based outfit's performance in 2018 has fallen short of expectations, enticing the team's top executives to call into question its management base and restructure its engineering department.

It's unclear when Key will take up his new role at McLaren, but it's likely chief executive Zak Brown will do his best to convince Toro Rosso to reduce Key's time on the sidelines to less than a year, the standard length of a leave in F1.

BBC's Andrew Benson reports that potential negotiations between the two teams over Key's future could involve McLaren junior Lando Norris as a bargaining chip.

McLaren recently rejected an approach for Norris from Red Bull's Helmut Marko, the energy drink company's motorsport boss seeking to replace Brendon Hartley with the 18-year-old McLaren junior.

Norris could therefore be released to Toro Rosso for 2019 in exchange for more favourable gardening leave terms associated with Key.

Before joining Toro Rosso in 2012, Key had cut his engineering teeth at Jordan, remaining with the outfit as it transitioned to Spyker and then to Force India. Key moved on to Sauber in 2010, his hard work helping the Swiss outfit move up the ranks.

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