Sauber will not replace Key
Sauber CEO Monisha Kalternborn has confirmed Sauber will not replace outgoing technical director James Key and does not think his departure will be destabilising ahead of the start of the season.
Sauber confirmed Key was leaving the team to return to a job in the UK last Friday, but details about the decision were not given. At the launch of the new Sauber C31 in Jerez, Kalternborn said the decision was mutual and that the team would continue without replacing him.
"For a while both sides have been feeling that things have not really been working out and also not [in the way] both sides had expected, I guess that this situation is now a result of that," she said. "James Key joined us at a time when we were in the transformation from a works team [BMW Sauber] to a private team [Sauber] and his contribution was very valuable to the team and we are very thankful to him for that. We now have a structure in place that we are confident about and one that is the right one for the team to go ahead. So it's not a short-term solution for us but a long-term."
She also denied that the decision not to replace him was due to a lack of funding this season.
"I will use this opportunity to clarify another point. There are articles around that state we will not replace our technical director because we apparently lack funds. Just to be very clear and open here, I think if we look back 20 years the team has always lacked funds. The gap is maybe this big or this big or maybe smaller, but it was always there. I think you will see the day when there is no gap in our budget because then we will be near the front. I think it's easy to monitor and I just wanted to clarify that situation once and for all."
Kalternborn added that she didn't envisage Key's departure would have a negative effect on the team because those now taking over responsibility were already in place.
"No we don't think that [it'll be destabilising]. The situation was not fitting well for a while so then you start considering what can you do? But now the people in charge of the performance of the car have already been there, so they have been in charge of it before as well and we don't expect any kind of destabilisation to happen. Moreover, the car is ready, we know what our plan is so we really don't expect this ... We are not looking for a replacement because we are convinced the structure we have is the right one for the team."