Technical boss Key leaves Force India

Force India has announced that its technical director James Key has left the team. Design director Mark Smith will be promoted to replace him

Technical boss Key leaves Force India

Key has been with the team since its Jordan days, initially joining as a data engineer in 1998. He progressed through the ranks to become technical director by 2005.

"I have spent the majority of my motor racing career within the team and although a difficult decision I felt the time was right for me to move on to new opportunities," Key said.

"After four owners and various changes and challenges, to field a car that got a pole position and a podium seemed like a culmination of all the efforts. While I'm sad to leave a team I know so well, one which has allowed me to realise many ambitions within F1, I'm looking forward to a new start.

"The VJM03 is now up and running and early indications are good, I wish Force India all the very best for the next and coming seasons."

Team boss Vijay Mallya paid tribute to Key's contribution to his squad.

"We would like to thank James for his commitment and drive over his 12 years with the team," Mallya said. "Over this period he has seen four changes of owners, but his consistency and drive have enabled the team to field cars that have often belied our small size.

"We wish him every success in his future endeavours. For Force India, we will now undergo a slight restructure where Mark will take responsibility for the whole design process and various departments within the drawing office and we are confident we will have both the resources and the personnel to continue our strong progress shown at the end of 2009."

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