James Key, the former technical boss at McLaren, has been announced as the new technical director of Alfa Romeo. Key left McLaren earlier in the year, and will start his new role in September, taking over from Jan Monchaux. Key previously worked as technical director for the Swiss-based Sauber operation, which now races under the Alfa Romeo brand, from 2010 to 2012. He will be reunited with another former McLaren colleague, Andreas Seidl, who is now the CEO of Sauber.
Seidl is currently preparing the Swiss operation for its partnership with Audi in 2026. While Audi will build its power unit in Neuburg, Germany, Sauber will be responsible for developing and manufacturing the Audi team’s race car at their headquarters in Switzerland. According to Seidl, Key will be a vital part of this new era and will lead the transformation process of the technical side of the team, providing the tools and direction needed to tackle the future.
Key started his career with Jordan and went on to work with Spyker, Force India, and Sauber before joining Toro Rosso. He developed a reputation for building good cars on a limited budget during his time there. He joined McLaren in 2019. While McLaren had a successful 2021 with a victory at the Italian Grand Prix, the following season was a failure, and the slow start in 2023 led to Key’s departure from the team.
Seidl expressed his excitement about welcoming Key back to Hinwil and the changes that have occurred since his last stint with the team. Seidl further commended Key’s experience in the sport and his various roles within a team’s technical organization, making him the perfect candidate to lead the transformation process of the technical side of the team.
Seidl also thanked Monchaux for his contribution in taking Sauber to where it is now, following its most successful season in a decade, placing sixth in the Constructors’ Championship. Key’s appointment is seen as a crucial step in continuing on the path of growth on which the team has embarked and to tackle the challenges of the future.