James Key has been confirmed as the Technical Director of the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team, and will form a vital component of the switch to the Audi works team.
Key, who left his role as Technical Director at the McLaren team in March, will take up a similar role at the Swiss-based Alfa Romeo team from September.
The Briton will return to his former team, having worked for Sauber from 2010 to 2012, and take over Jan Monchaux's position.
Starting out at the Jordan team in 1998, Key was part of the evolution into Force India, and rose to the role of Technical Director with the Silverstone-based team before his 2010 move to Switzerland.
Key moved to Toro Rosso in 2012 to form part of their UK-based team in Bicester, before a switch to McLaren in 2018.
With McLaren's start to the 2023 season falling below expectations, the Woking team have made several signings and reshaped their technical team, which resulted in Key departure in March this year.
“I am delighted to be returning to Hinwil to work with old, and new, colleagues at Sauber; I have very fond memories of my time there before," said Key.
"I am looking forward to leading the technical side of the team at one of the most critical junctures of its long history as we head towards a new and exciting future. There is a huge amount of work ahead of us, but I am confident that every single member of our team working in Hinwil will have the commitment, determination and hunger to get us to the top.
"We know it will require time, effort and perseverance, and the dividends from this work will only arrive over the next two seasons and beyond, but we have a journey ahead of us and a roadmap to follow which I am eager to get started.
"I am grateful to Andreas for the confidence he has placed in me and look forward to repaying his trust and working closely with him on the challenges and ambitions ahead.”
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Seidl: Key appointment a 'crucial step'
Key also worked under Sauber Group CEO Andreas Seidl when both were at McLaren, with Seidl joining the team in December to lead their transition to the Audi works team in 2026.
“I am delighted to welcome James back home to Hinwil as he joins us to shape the future of this team," added Seidl.
"The operation he will find has changed a lot since his time here, but the same drive, the same commitment that contributed to making the team successful in his previous experience are still the same: I am sure that, together with this very talented and committed team, we will be able to continue on the path of growth on which we have embarked.
"James’s appointment is a crucial step on this journey: he has an outstanding amount of experience in the sport, not just as Technical Director, but also in various other roles within the technical organisation of a team.
"He will lead the transformation process of the technical side of the team, giving us the tools and direction we need to tackle the future.
"I also want to thank Jan for his precious contribution to taking Sauber to where it is now, following our most successful season in a decade, in which we climbed to sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship.”