Sauber: Key can take the team forward 08 Apr 2010
This week sees a long-scheduled change of management at BMW Saubers technical department in Switzerland, as Willy Rampf, the team's technical director for the last ten years, hands over to James Key, formerly of Force India.
After some promising pre-season tests, the C29 has so far disappointed and BMW Sauber remain the only established team yet to score points in 2010. Team principal Peter Sauber, however, is confident that Keys arrival will mark the start of a new era.
"I was impressed by what Force India had achieved in recent times on a tight budget, and James Key played a major role in getting them to where they are today, said Sauber. For me it was also important to appoint a technical director with a track record of getting the most out of limited resources. He will benefit from the first-class infrastructure at Hinwil and I'm in no doubt that he can take the team forward."
Keys first Grand Prix for BMW Sauber will be the next round in China, where the 38-year-old Englishman will also have technical responsibility at the circuit. In the short term he will focus on exploiting the full potential of the C29, but Sauber is also thinking of the long term.
Looking further ahead, James will set about putting in place what he considers to be the right structure for the technical department, he commented. I'm certainly expecting there to be changes. However, these will not happen overnight. It's a process that will take place over a period of time."
Sauber admits that in terms of performance they are not where they expected to be given the means at their disposal in the development of the C29. However, he believes the turmoil the team have experienced in the last 12 months, with the withdrawal of BMW and his last-minute takeover, has almost certainly had an influence.
I'm looking for explanations myself, he confessed. What is clear is that there was a lot of uncertainty around the whole team in the second half of 2009 - not surprisingly, given the circumstances. Nobody within the team knew whether we would be on the grid in Bahrain. This uncertainty was only removed when I took over the team and the guys could see a future once again. Now we have the task of making up for lost time as quickly as possible."
While looking to the future with Keys arrival, Sauber was also keen to pay tribute to long-time friend and collaborator Rampf, now 56, who indicated some time ago that he wanted to make some major career changes after spending the last 14 years with the team.
He helped to shape the company and can take a lot of the credit for the team's success over the years. Willy has done a great deal for our team and I'm very grateful to him," concluded Sauber.