Key to McLaren

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 07: James Key the Scuderia Toro Rosso Technical Director is seen in the team garage during Formula One winter testing at Circuito de Jerez on February 7, 2013 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** James Key

A couple years ago, I posted a piece asking, where is the next Adrian Newey? It was a good discussion with several folks believing there wasn’t another Newey and others offering names. One name I threw into the ring for consideration was that of James Key.

James was the resident design genius over at Toro Rosso and while there won’t be another Newey—as he’s a unique individual—I felt that James was doing some very interesting things with the STR chassis and was thinking outside the box. It was a good place to develop his chops and if I looked at long term, I thought Red Bull Racing had a young and upcoming replacement for Newey at the big team.

An article over at Autosport says that James is set to move to McLaren and replace former technical director, Tim Goss. McLaren has parted ways with Goss, Matt Morris and Eric Boullier in a management shakeup that is intended to reverse its slide to the bottom. Signing Key would be a major coup as he is a guy who can achieve good results with limited resources just as he did at Sauber, Force India and Toro Rosso.

This would be a big blow to Red Bull, as the article points out, and with Newey orbiting around the team like a moth to a porch light going on and off, he has been looking for other projects for the last several years and pulling back from the deep attachment and involvement at Red Bull. Key would be the logical successor for Newey but if he does go to McLaren, that will leave a big hole at Toro Rosso and possibly Red Bull in the long term.

As for Toro Rosso? They tweeted:

Franz Tost: “James Key has a long term valid contract with the team. The contents of the contract are confidential, therefore we won’t comment on any of the details.”

Hat Tip: Autosport

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McLaren needs more than just James Key. They are stuck in quite possibly the same downward vortex that Williams is. Every year they get further behind, and all the talk is about coming back. That never happens. A big loss for Toro Rosso, for sure. But Mc Laren is just lost. I don’t believe they even know where to start


The one thing we know about F1 is that there are no such thing as a “valid long-term contract.”


First thing that Key should do? Bring back the chassis that McLaren were running earlier this year. This current one is absolute garbage.


Apparently Toro Rosso are saying that the have a contract with Key that ties him to them until 2020, and they’ll be making it hard for Key to break that. Could be that he’ll be facing a period of extended gardening leave, or a bit of court time. I don’t know how much credence to give to the story, as it would seem unlikely that McLaren wouldn’t have reviewed Key’s contract before making the announcement. And as we know contracts are a thing Zac Brown is understood to be good at. But if it is correct, announcing Key, then being… Read more »