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Key replaces Ascanelli at Toro Rosso 06 Sep 2012

James Key (GBR) Sauber Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 11 June 2011 Gianni Ascanelli (ITA) Scuderia Toro Rosso Technical Director in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 May 2012 Franz Tost (AUT) Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012

Toro Rosso have confirmed that James Key, formerly of Sauber and Force India, has joined the Italian team as their new technical director following Giorgio Ascanelli’s resignation. Key, who left Sauber in February, started work on Monday.

“I am very happy to be joining Scuderia Toro Rosso after a few months away from Formula One,” said Englishman Key. “It’s a great opportunity for me to join a team that strikes me as extremely ambitious with a workforce that is very motivated. Even after just a few days, I have sensed, from everyone I have dealt with, an enthusiasm to move the team forward.”

Commenting on Key’s appointment, team principal Franz Tost said: “With James Key in the role of technical director, we start a new chapter in the history of Toro Rosso and I hope it’s an interesting one. James comes to us with a strong reputation and has proved he can help smaller teams punch above their weight. We cannot expect miracles in the next few races, but James has joined early enough to have an influence on our car for 2013, when we hope to have a better season than this one, even if last weekend’s result in Belgium, with both cars in the points, was encouraging.”

Key echoed Tost’s sentiments, insisting he will be focusing on both long- and short-term goals from the outset: “We will be studying the team’s working practices, throughout all the departments, while looking to see which areas need strengthening further. Our aim has to be to move the team up a level in terms of its position within the F1 hierarchy.

“Next year’s car project is already well underway and it seems to be going in the right direction and now we have a few months left to ensure it is a step forward from this year’s car. Looking closer to home, there is still some development to come on this year’s STR7 and we will be doing our best to make the most of the remaining eight races with the developments already in the pipeline, all of it coming off the back of a good weekend in Spa.”

Ascanelli’s resignation from Toro Rosso comes after almost five years with the Red Bull-backed squad and Tost was keen to pay tribute to his long-time colleague.

“Giorgio has contributed positively to the development of our team. Especially in the difficult transition period from a simple racing team to a fully-fledged constructor he made an important contribution and his undoubted experience was very valuable to us. We would like to thank him for his efforts and wish him all the best for the future.”

On a personal note, Ascanelli added: “I've enjoyed the past years working at Scuderia Toro Rosso. It has been a very intense and interesting time, in which we had to manage the transition from a small team to a much larger one, and everybody has put a lot of effort to bring us where we are today. We have sown the seeds for a successful future and I think the team challenge is now to gain a stable presence in the upper mid-field and I wish all at Toro Rosso the very best for the future.”

Toro Rosso are ninth in the 2012 constructors’ championship standings with 12 points, six of which were scored by Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo in last weekend’s Belgian race.

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