James Key departs McLaren after underwhelming start to new season

James Key has left McLaren following a major overhaul of the British team’s management structure.

Key joined McLaren as executive director from Toro Rosso in 2019, but his departure comes after just two races of an underwhelming start to the new season.

Key’s role will now comprise of three specialised technical directors, with David Sanchez joining McLaren from Ferrari. However, Sanchez will not start his new job until next year.

Peter Prodromou and Neil Houldey are promoted internally, with the triumvirate reporting to team principal Andrea Stella.

McLaren finished only fifth in last season’s constructors’ championship, and have started the new campaign on the back foot, raising question marks over Lando Norris’ future.

The highly-rated British driver finished a lowly 17th at the recent Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, two places behind rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri.

“It’s important now that we ensure we have a solid foundation as the next phase of our journey,” said McLaren chief executive Zak Brown.

Lando Norris
Lando Norris’ future with McLaren is under the microscope (David Davies/PA)

“It has been clear to me for some time that our technical development has not moved at a quick enough pace to match our ambition of returning to the front of the grid.

“I’m pleased that, having completed a full review with Andrea, we are now able to implement the restructure required to set the wheels in motion to turn this around.

“These strategic changes ensure the long-term success of the team and are necessary to see McLaren get back to winning ways.

“We have everything coming into place now with our people and infrastructure and alongside an exciting driver line-up, I’m determined to see McLaren get back to where we should be.”