Alessandro Alunni Bravi, a representative for the Alfa Romeo team, recently discussed the challenges that would face the company's new Technical Director. James Key, who was let go by McLaren in March, was soon revealed to be joining his former boss Andreas Seidl at Alfa Romeo, with Seidl departing the Woking team at the start of the 2023 Formula 1 season. Although McLaren's 2023 Formula 1 season got off to a shaky start due to the MCL60's failure to live up to expectations, the team has since turned things around thanks to an impressive midseason upgrade that landed them close to the performance of Red Bull. As a result of Seidl's clear confidence in Key's ability to steer Audi's technical department into the Audi era beginning in 2026, the British engineer will be relocating to Sauber's Swiss headquarters of Hinwil on September 1.
F1: James Key's Role at Alfa Romeo
James Key will begin his tenure as Technical Director at Alfa Romeo in the month of September. Prior to commencing his duties, Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi disclosed the primary focus of Key's initial actions upon his arrival. The commencement of Key's tenure in the position is scheduled for September 1, 2023. Key's primary objective is to enhance the performance of their existing vehicle, the C43, as they strive to secure seventh place in the constructors' standings. Additionally, Key aims to prepare the team for Audi's forthcoming entry into the sport, anticipated in 2026.
And speaking about Key's impending arrival, Alunni Bravi said: "Priority checklist for James Key will be to improve the performance of the car and to help Andreas Seidl to shape the technical department. As you know as a team, we are in a transformation process, and the addition of James Key brings a lot of value to our team because James has not only been a Technical Director. He has been in different roles at the technical level of the teams he has previously been working with. So, I expect that he will give the contribution as everybody in the team, that we need to do a step as a team and move forward."
F1: Alfa Romeo’s 2023 Season so Far
As Audi increases its investment in the team formerly known as Sauber in preparation for a full acquisition of the Swiss outfit in 2026, it appears that Alfa Romeo will no longer be recognised by that name beginning in 2024. Last year, Alfa scored 55 points, good enough for sixth place in the Constructors' Championship. It's true that Alfa was one of the few teams to consistently hit the minimum weight limit throughout the season, which is why they scored 51 of their total points in the first nine races. As the season progressed, rival teams were able to reduce surplus weight from their vehicles, pushing the Hinwil-based team down to the bottom of the grid, where they have mostly remained in 2023, scoring only nine points in the first twelve Grands Prix.
Although Alfa is currently in ninth place in the standings, the fact that Zhou has been able to compete with his more seasoned teammate Valtteri Bottas has not gone unnoticed by the Sauber management. While Zhou's current contract expires at the end of 2023, many people believe he will get a new deal for the 2024 season.