The Sauber F1 team has announced the shock departure of its technical director, James Key.
“A qualified team shares the overall technical responsibility,” said team founder Peter Sauber in a media announcement.
“This structure has proved to work well at other racing outfits. Over a period of almost two years, James has accomplished a lot for our team. Especially in the difficult transition period from a manufacturer team into a private enterprise, he contributed significantly to ensure the team regained stability. We would like to thank him for his efforts and wish him all the best for his future.”
The announcement added that Key’s position would, as yet, remain unfilled, with the design and development of this year’s C31 challenger now being overseen by the team’s Aerodynamics, Design, Performance and Operations departmental heads, who previously reported to Key.
With no replacement having been lined up, this would suggest that Key’s departure – which might be related to recent rumours that the team’s financial position is not as solid as once thought – caught the outfit by surprise.
Key joined the team as technical director in 2009, having previously overseen Force India’s technical operations.
“It has been a very intense and interesting time, in which we had to manage the transition from a much larger team to a smaller one, and everybody handled that very well,” Key added.
“I think the team is now well set for the future and I wish it the very best. I have been offered a new role back in the UK, which I decided to accept.”
It remains to be seen exactly what role Key has taken up, and with whom…