James Key will be the 'father' of McLaren's 2020 car – Zak Brown
James Key will be the "father" of McLaren's 2020 car, team boss Zak Brown has confirmed.
Key signed a deal to join McLaren last year as their technical director, but the Briton's start date was in question as current employer Toro Rosso still had a lengthy contract with Key which Red Bull refused to terminate early.
That threatened to derail McLaren's plans, however following months of dialogue between the three parties, Red Bull agreed to let Key start at McLaren for the 2019 season, but this will of course be far too late to have an impact on the MCL34, which will be led by Pat Fry, who returned to McLaren earlier this year.
"We’ve brought in Gil de Ferran, who brings an unusual mix of a racer’s instinct with strategic acumen, promoted Andrea Stella to lead our performance development and analysis group, brought back Pat Fry as engineering director to lead the design of the MCL34, and of course appointed James Key as our technical director to give us the singular technical leadership that has been missing," Brown said of McLaren's rebuilding process.
"Beyond these high-profile appointments, we have sought to put the right talent in the right places within the organisation, to make us more nimble and streamline our technical culture. These changes are part of a constantly-evolving performance recovery plan.
"Formula 1 is a dynamic, not static, environment, so I expect further developments over the coming months."
Although Key won't have much of a say in the initial development stages of the MCL34, his impact will be felt throughout the season, though Brown made it clear his focus will be on the MCL35.
"Pat Fry, who we’ve won many races and championships with, re-joined us during 2018, to lead and co-ordinate the design and delivery of the MCL34.
"It’s still a work in progress to complete the leadership structure for our Formula 1 business. However, I’m excited that James will be starting in time not to influence the 2019 car on its debut, but certainly to help its progression over the course of the season, and most importantly have him be the ‘father’ of the MCL35."
Next season will see a raft of changes to the cars to increase overtaking, including simplified front and rear-wings, before a major overhaul of the regulations will be introduced in 2021.