Sauber has confirmed the departure of technical director James Key just a week before it takes the covers off its 2012 F1 challenger.

Key, who joined the team from Force India, is to leave the Swiss-based team in order to make a return to the UK to take up a role elsewhere.

What that role is - and with whom - has yet to be announced.

"I've enjoyed the past two years working at the Sauber F1 Team," he said. "It has been a very intense and interesting time, in which we had to manage the transition from a much larger team to a smaller one, and everybody handled that very well. I think the team is now well set for the future and I wish it the very best. I have been offered a new role back in the UK, which I decided to accept."

With Keys depature, Sauber will now reorganise its technical department with the design and development of the new car being lead by the department heads for aerodynamics, design, performance and operations.

"A qualified team shares the overall technical responsibility," team boss Peter Sauber said. "This structure has proved to work well at other racing outfits. Over a period of almost two years, James has accomplished a lot for our team. Especially in the difficult transition period from a manufacturer team into a private enterprise, he contributed significantly to ensure the team regained stability. We would like to thank him for his efforts and wish him all the best for his future."

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