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Executive director Key departs in McLaren shakeup

Lando Norris Oscar Piastri Lando Norris Oscar Piastri - The Canadian Press

James Key has departed as technical director of McLaren, the team announced on Thursday.

His individual role will be filled by a new technical executive team that reports directly to team principal Andrea Stella. Davis Sanchez will return as head of car concept on Jan. 1, 2024 after a decade at Ferrari, while Neil Houldey will lead engineering and design and Peter Prodromou leads aerodynamics.

“Looking ahead, I am determined and fully focused on leading McLaren back to the front of the field," Stella said in a statement. "Since taking on the team principal role, I have been given the mandate to take a strategic approach to ensure the team is set on a long-term foundation, for us to build on over the years.  This new structure provides clarity and effectiveness within the team’s technical department and puts us in a strong position to maximize performance, including optimizing the new infrastructure upgrades we have coming in 2023."

Key, 51, had joined the team in 2019. The native of Nottingham, England had previously worked for Jordan, Sauber and Toro Rosso.

McLaren, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, have failed to register a point through two races this season.

After a third-place finish in 2020, McLaren has gone on to a fourth-place finish in 2021 and a fifth-place finish in the constructors' championship in 2022.