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A Key move at Sauber

NEWS STORY
24/02/2010

Just 24 hours after it was announced that he was leaving Force India, James Key has been named as Sauber's new technical director.

After ten years as Technical Director in Hinwil, Willy Rampf will hand over to Key (38), who takes up his new position on 1st April. Willy Rampf will be leaving the team at the end of April.

After two years as a designer with Lotus, Key launched his Formula One career in 1998 as a data engineer with Jordan, where he went on to become Takuma Sato's race engineer. After a year in the aerodynamics department he was made head of vehicle dynamics. Soon after the Midland Group took over the team, he was appointed Technical Director in season 2005, at the age of just 33. He retained this position when the team became SpykerF1 and ultimately Force India. Key was in charge of the VJM02 with which the private team took a pole position, a podium place and a fastest
race lap in 2009.

James Key: "The first time I saw the facilities in Hinwil, I knew straightaway the kind of opportunities open to me there. The wind tunnel, the supercomputer, the machine park and the expertise of the team were extremely persuasive. There is significant potential at Sauber, and with the ever-changing world of F1 I think the team is very well placed at present. I am grateful to my old team for the past 12 years I spent with them, but now I very much look forward to starting my new job. I would like to thank Peter Sauber and the team for this great opportunity."

Team Principal, Peter Sauber: "Despite his young age, James looks back on more than a decade of experience in Formula One - and the 2009 car in particular proved quite a revelation. James comes from a private team and knows how to work around a limited budget. With us he will enjoy high-level technical opportunities. Willy and James will be devoting April to the handover. I have known about Willy's plans for some time, of course," Sauber continues, "and fully understand his decision. He has achieved great things for our team. I had managed to get him on board as race engineer for season 1994. Then in 1998 he temporarily left the team to pursue his Paris-Dakar Rallye dream and ran BMW's motorcycle involvement - a successful interlude, as we know. In 1999 he returned to the fold with the clear aim of becoming Technical Director. It was practically his first Formula One car that was out on the grid in 2001, and we finished fourth in the Constructors' Championship as a privately-run team. We have Willy to thank for a great deal."

Willy Rampf: "When you're Technical Director of a Formula One team, the job comes first and everything else is subordinate to it. I have done my job with a passion for ten years, but now it's time to hand over the baton. Peter Sauber gave me the chance to enter this league of motor sport and I greatly value all my years spent working with the team."

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