McLaren and Toro Rosso have confirmed an agreement has been reached that will see James Key begin his new role as technical director at McLaren next month.
Key’s signing was announced last July, but at the time the two teams had not negotiated his release and he has since been on ‘gardening leave’ at Toro Rosso. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown stated his confidence that Key would join in 2019 in order to work on the 2020 car, and it has now been announced he will start in the role on March 25.
“McLaren Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso confirm they have reached an agreement to settle the position of Mr. James Key, who will be released by Scuderia Toro Rosso prior to the end of his existing contract arrangement on 23 March 2019,” a joint statement read. “James will begin his role as technical director, McLaren F1, on March 25, 2019.”
At the same time, Toro Rosso confirmed that Jody Egginton will begin his new role as technical director at the team — having previously been deputy to Key — on the same date.
On the final day of the first test, Egginton said this year’s Toro Rosso is a mix of his and Key’s leadership.
“It’s unfortunate James left in late July — at that stage we had a concept of what we wanted for the car and a view of the major milestones,” Egginton said. “We’ve modified a few of those — that’s part of the process anyway, especially with the regulation changes. They were frozen ultimately fairly late — September/October, talking about fine detail — there was an evolution there.
“We changed one or two things — how we organized the wind tunnel, how we map the car aerodynamically, we’ve asked a few questions of ourselves. None of it’s a revolution, it’s an evolution.
“So yeah, we did take the opportunity to reshuffle a few things but it’s not fundamental, it’s areas where we thought we could push a bit harder and make some gains. And areas where we thought we didn’t need to fiddle much, sort of everyone getting together but nothing fundamental. Constant development and pushing ourselves.”