The Alfa Romeo F1 team has announced James Key as its new technical director. Key, who has more than 25 years of experience in Formula 1, will join the Hinwil squad at the start of September, taking over the position from Jan Monchaux.
Key’s appointment is a statement of intent for the team as Sauber Motorsport prepares to become the Audi works team in 2026. This development, and its impact on the way Sauber’s Formula 1 operations are to be shaped in the years to come, is part of the strategy set in place at the beginning of the year by Sauber Group CEO Andreas Seidl, to create and implement a clear roadmap for the team to move forward.
It marks a return Hinwil for Key, who had a tenure as technical director for the then-Sauber F1 Team between 2010 and 2012. Over the course of a career that began at Jordan Grand Prix, a team in which he covered various engineering roles, including race engineer, Key became Formula 1’s youngest-ever technical director, in 2005, at the age of 33; he retained that position as the team became Midland F1, Spyker F1 and eventually Force India.
Following his stint at Sauber, Key joined Scuderia Toro Rosso as technical director, before a further move to McLaren Racing ahead of the 2019 season, where he worked under the direction of then-team principal, Andreas Seidl, and contributed to the progression of the team, culminating in several podiums and a 1-2 triumph in the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.
Commenting on Key’s appointment, Seidl said, “I am delighted to welcome James back home to Hinwil as he joins us to shape the future of this team. 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 organization 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.”