Key becomes Toro Rosso Technical Director
6 September 2012 – Toro Rosso has confirmed the rumoured story that James Key is joining the team as Technical Director. The Englishman, who left Sauber earlier this year, replaces Giorgio Ascanelli who has been absent since the German Grand Prix weekend.
With Key having left Sauber for ‘a new challenge’ before the start of the 2012 F1 season, it appears as though he has been going through a period of gardening leave and was unable to state his destination. Ascanelli was officially described as ‘on holiday’ by Toro Rosso, but this aroused suspicions as this happened just before the summer break. It is believed the Italian is now heading to Ferrari.
“I've enjoyed the past years working at Scuderia Toro Rosso,” says Ascanelli, who was thanked by the team in a press release on Wednesday evening. “It has been a very intense and interesting time, in which we had to manage the transition from a small team to a much larger one, and everybody has put a lot of effort to bring us where we are today. We have sown the seeds for a successful future and I think the team challenge is now to gain a stable presence in the upper mid-field and I wish all at Toro Rosso the very best for the future.”
Key’s confirmation comes in a separate communiqué, issued on Thursday morning. It confirms that he started work at the Faenza-based outfit on Monday.
“I am very happy to be joining Scuderia Toro Rosso after a few months away from Formula 1,” Key says. “It’s a great opportunity for me to join a team that strikes me as extremely ambitious with a workforce that is very motivated. Even after just a few days I have sensed, from everyone I have dealt with, an enthusiasm to move the team forward. There are clear opportunities coming up through regulation changes (for 2014) and we intend to look not only at the long-term, but the short-term too.
“We will be studying the team’s working practices, throughout all the departments, while looking to see which areas need strengthening further. Our aim has to be to move the team up a level in terms of its position within the F1 hierarchy. Next year’s car project is already well underway and it seems to be going in the right direction.”
Ascanelli’s future is expected to be confirmed in due course.
Tost: A new chapter for Toro Rosso