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Sauber 'expects a lot' from new hire Key during Audi F1 transition

Alfa Romeo Formula 1 boss Alessandro Alunni Bravi says the team 'expects a lot' from new technical director James Key as the Sauber organisation continues its transition for Audi's arrival.

James Key, Alfa Romeo F1 Team Technical Director

James Key, Alfa Romeo F1 Team Technical Director

Alfa Romeo

The Swiss outfit, which is set to revert to the Sauber name for two seasons before formally becoming Audi in 2026, is undergoing a major expansion under CEO Andreas Seidl.

Former McLaren technical director Key started work on 1 September, and attended the Japanese GP in order to get an overview of race weekend operations.

Meanwhile erstwhile head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar has been given the new role of F1 racing director as the team continues to evolve.

Alunni Bravi stressed that the process of change will be a gradual one, with the results not always obvious from the outside.

"We don't like to speak too much,” he told Autosport. “We have said from the beginning of the year that our development plan started in January 2023. 

"We started the recruitment, we have appointed James Key and other key profiles that we will announce from time to time.

PLUS: How a lawyer-turned-journalist became a crucial player in Alfa's F1 revival

“And of course, we are trying to fix all our weaknesses. Sometimes you can see immediate results. Some other times, you need to wait a bit. 

"But we are confident that we have a good foundation. And of course, we need to improve, as the competition is very tight.”

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Alunni Bravi noted that Key is looking at all areas of the Hinwil team, and not just those under his immediate control.

“He's pushing very hard not just for the project of the 2024 car,” said the Italian. “But also to address our weaknesses, and with his experience also to give the right direction for the current developments. And also to manage our package in the very best way during the Grand Prix weekend.

“We expect a lot from James. He has been with us in Suzuka, so I think it has been very important for him to attend the races, and also to see how we operate on track.

"James is a technical director, but he has a lot of experience in different roles within the technical department. 

“So his contribution will be important for next year and for the future, helping Andreas in this transformation process of the technical department and the other areas of the team.

“His contribution is not just important in the design office, but also giving the team the right structure on track.

“This is a work that we are doing together with Xevi Pujolar. Maybe there are some changes that have not been visible, but we are trying to improve on a race-by-race basis.

“We need to improve, this is clear. We are not where we should be.

“We don't build a works team in one day. Our journey has already started, and we need to see progress in the next two years.”

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