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Key to unlock Sauber speed

2010-04-09 07:19

London - Sauber are hoping new technical director James Key can help unlock the F1 team's missing performance ahead of next week's Chinese Grand Prix.

Key, arriving from increasingly impressive Force India, took over the technical role two days ago with long-time previous incumbent Willy Rampf stepping down.

He has work to do, with Ferrari-engined Sauber failing to score a point in the first three races despite looking strong in pre-season testing with Spanish veteran Pedro de la Rosa and Japanese rookie Kamui Kobayashi.

"In terms of performance we are not where we expected to be or where we should be given the means we've had at our disposal in the development of the C29," team owner Peter Sauber told the team website (www.sauber-motorsport.com) on Thursday.

"I'm looking for explanations myself," he added.

The team faced a battle for survival at the end of last year after previous owners BMW pulled out of the sport, eventually handing back control to Sauber after a planned sale to Qadbak investments fell through.

Sauber said he had no doubt Key could take the team forward, making up for lost time, and expected further change in the structure of the technical department.

"He will set about putting in place what he considers to be the right structure for the technical department. I'm certainly expecting there to be changes," he added. "However these will not happen overnight."

Sauber said the team needed to "put new methods in place that will maximise efficiency", after already cutting the budget by 40% and reducing the workforce by a third since last season.

"This applies not only to technical development but also to the way we operate as a team - for example how the engineers work with our two new drivers." he added. "That is something that needs time to bed in.

"James Key will have a wide variety of tasks. As an organisation, everything is in place to get us back to our former strength."


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