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Key: We have a contract insists Zak Brown

NEWS STORY
29/07/2018

It would very much appear to be a case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, as McLaren and Red Bull argue over technical director James Key.

Following the Woking outfit's tweet on Thursday confirming that it had signed the Toro Rosso technical director, the Italian outfit responded insisting that the Briton has a long-term contract still in place.

And then Helmut Marko got involved, insisting that McLaren will have a "very, very long wait" for the arrival of its new man.

Aware that a lengthy period of gardening leave - with some source claiming more than a year - would impact McLaren not only in 2019 but 2020, Zak Brown claims to have a plan in place.

"We have hired James Key, he will become our technical director... though we do not have a start date," said the American. "He does have a current agreement with Toro Rosso, and of course we respect contractual situations.

"I think Toro Rosso and Red Bull are understandably upset that they're losing a great talent," he added. "I think he's recognised as one of the best technical directors in the pitlane, so we're very excited to have him join us in due course."

Asked if there might be a way, a possible sweetener, that might persuade Toro Rosso to release the Briton early, Brown said: "In the world of F1 there are always ways and opportunities to change situations. That was something that we could potentially consider.

"We have a plan," he admitted. "We obviously knew his current employment situation, and we're completely comfortable working around that situation.

"As we've stated before, we've done some restructuring, we're doing some hiring, we're not done yet, so we're just head down, operating according to the internal plan that we have."

Last month, McLaren was reported to have rejected a bid from Lando Norris, who it is claimed the Faenza outfit was looking to replace Brendon Hartley with.

With Fernando Alonso's plans for 2019 unclear, and Stoffel Vandoorne unlikely to be retained, Norris - currently second in the F2 championship - has been linked with a move up to an F1 seat with the Woking team, while Carlos Sainz has also been linked with the team, albeit as partner to countryman Alonso.

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1. Posted by Fambank, 29/07/2018 13:49

"Keeping your mouth shut till things are final or goals are achieved.
Is it *really* that hard. Zak ?
Oh, wait, your a marketing man by trade. Used to sell shit.

My apologies."

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