Red Bull: McLaren F1 team won't get Toro Rosso's Key for long time

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko is adamant the McLaren Formula 1 team will not be able to employ Toro Rosso technical director James Key until his contract runs out

Red Bull: McLaren F1 team won't get Toro Rosso's Key for long time

McLaren announced on Thursday that Key would become its new technical chief, but it would not confirm a date.

It is understood that McLaren boss Zak Brown was talking to Red Bull about the terms of Key's departure, but those discussions hit a snag when the story emerged in the media and was subsequently confirmed by McLaren.

It now appears that Red Bull wants Key to fulfil his contractual obligations to Toro Rosso.

"He has a long-term contract with Toro Rosso," Marko told Autosport.

"We had a discussion with Zak, and instead of coming back to us, there was a press release done.

"So we'll stick to the contract, and McLaren will have to wait for quite a long time."

Marko made it clear that he expects Key to see out his contract, which is understood to stretch to 2020.

"Of course. There's a contract for quite a long time. Why do we have contracts?" he said.

"We have to analyse the whole situation. As McLaren is making press announcements, we have to look seriously at the legal situation.

"But it's sure we won't release him earlier."

Asked if Key was now on 'gardening leave', Marko replied: "As far as I know he's on holiday at the moment, and we won't put him in a position where he gets all the latest information, that's clear."

Marko also downplayed suggestions that Red Bull would use the situation to get access to Lando Norris, having sounded out McLaren about the Formula 2 frontrunner earlier in the year.

"It's a very clear situation, if they don't put him in an F1 seat by September 30, he is a free [agent], so what do you want to deal?" said Marko.

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner also expressed concern about the Key situation.

"Obviously it's a situation between James and Toro Rosso," Horner told Sky Sports F1.

"But Red Bull Technology provide services to Toro Rosso, so IP is obviously extremely sensitive.

"That's what we're pretty protective off. We're obviously keen to have an understanding of what the situation is with James and Toro Rosso in the relatively near future."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Red Bull Racing , AlphaTauri , McLaren
Author Adam Cooper
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