Former Sauber technical director James Key will make a return to Formula 1 in September, with the Englishman having signed on as the replacement for Toro Rosso’s outgoing technical director, Giorgio Ascanelli.
Key parted ways with Sauber in the 2012 pre-season and has since served out his period of F1 ‘gardening leave’, although that hasn’t stopped him from getting involved with Lotus’ sports car effort, working at Advanced Design Engineering Systems Solutions AG in Germany.
Key’s F1 career began back in 1998 when he joined the Jordan F1 team, with whom he remained – while working his way up the ranks – through its Midland, Spyker and Force India iterations.
Credited with being a leading figure behind the design of the very slippery 2009 Force India VJM02 – which Giancarlo Fisichella drove to a much-lauded pole position and podium at that year’s Belgian Grand Prix (pictured) – Key moved to Sauber in 2010 to lead its design team.
The movements of Ascanelli, who quit Toro Rosso in July, are not yet know, although it is widely believed that he has signed to work for Ferrari.
Toro Rosso is enduring its least-competitive season since 2006 (the first in which the former Minardi outfit raced under Red Bull’s ownership), having claimed just seven championship points to lie ninth in the Constructors’ Championship standings.