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Key signing a shock increase for Alfa Romeo in F1

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Key was eased out of a similar role at McLaren earlier this year after a shake-up of technical duties.

He was soon hired by his former boss Andreas Seidl, who as CEO of Sauber Motorsport is answerable for getting ready the Swiss organisation for the arrival of Audi in 2026.

Key, who had a earlier spell at Sauber between 2010 and 2012, will be a part of the Hinwil outfit on 1 September. He replaces erstwhile technical director Jan Monchaux, who’s now on gardening go away.

Zhou says he knew that adjustments had been going to occur within the Sauber camp forward of Audi’s takeover however he hadn’t anticipated such an essential signing so quickly.

“I used to be a bit shocked, clearly,” mentioned Zhou. “You knew issues had been altering a bit contained in the group heading [towards] 2026. However I did not anticipate it to be so rapidly.

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“I feel Andreas is attempting to construct a group to be prepared for this Audi arrival. So I am comfortable [with] no matter motion Andreas takes. And I really feel like he is an effective man in figuring out what he is doing for the most effective for the group.

“From my aspect, hopefully James will come to the group and he’ll give us another concepts, and we are able to simply proceed working and even make an extra step up for the tip of the season.”

Key beforehand labored for Sauber between 2010 and 2012 following BMW’s exit

Photograph by: Sutton Photos

Requested by Autosport concerning the obvious anomaly of the group hiring somebody who was surplus to necessities elsewhere, Zhou careworn that he has religion in Seidl’s selection.

“I do not know what was going at McLaren and why he obtained booted out,” he mentioned. “However what I heard is that they have been working extraordinarily properly collectively, Andreas and James.

“I feel they had been the blokes who had been at McLaren once they had been struggling, or ending on the again, after which convey them to be a race-winning automotive, or podium a number of instances.

“So I feel they each know what they’re doing, and I am simply supporting them and supporting the choices that Andreas is ready to take.

“I am certain it is going in the direction of the course he needs to construct a group into, the constructions inside and outside. So yeah, I am okay with all that.”

In the meantime, Zhou careworn that the primary purpose for the group continues to be on drag discount, with some helpful steps having been made with current upgrades.

“Our long-term focus for the group is evident, to have much less drag,” he mentioned. “So we do not have to drive ourselves at a whole lot of tracks to make use of decrease wings simply to guarantee that we’re not in hassle within the race on high pace.

“Each package deal now there’s positively aero efficiency, however low drag would not actually are available in the future or two days or two race weekends.

“It is sort of just like the long-term focus perhaps for subsequent yr or finish of this yr to have one thing like that to unravel these points.”

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