James Key is set to start work with Toro Rosso at the end of the month as the replacement for Giorgio Ascanelli, according to reports.

Speculation about Ascanelli's future with the team started last month when he wasn't present for the German Grand Prix, with team boss Franz Tost insisting at the time that the technical director was away on holiday.

Although Ascanelli's departure has yet to be officially confirmed by the team, paddock speculation has suggested that Key is being lined up to replace him, having quit his role with the Sauber team earlier this year.

Key has since been working on the new Lotus LMP2 car being developed by Colin Kolles' Kodewa outfit but according to respected F1 reporter Joe Saward, the former Sauber technical director will start work at Toro Rosso on 1 September.

Ascanelli meanwhile has been linked with a possible move to Ferrari once free from his Toro Rosso contract.