Carlos Sainz has backed new McLaren signing James Key to have a quick impact at the team as he focuses on the development of its 2020 Formula 1 car. 

Key made his first appearance as McLaren’s new technical director at the Bahrain Grand Prix after being released from his Toro Rosso contract, having being signed by the Woking squad last year. 

After arriving too late to influence McLaren’s 2019 MC34 car, Key will instead turn his attentions to its 2020 challenger. 

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Sainz, who previously worked with Key during his time at Toro Rosso, believes his arrival is a “great asset” for McLaren as it continues its F1 recovery bid.

“It is a great asset to the team him coming here,” Sainz said. 

“I have a relationship with James from our Toro Rosso days so it is nice to see an old friend in a new environment. He is a great asset to the team.

“He is going to have a quick impact on next year’s car. This year is all about the procedures, how the team works and learning about this year’s car and this learning process will help him and give him a good baseline for next year. 

“This year, it is very difficult for him to have a good impact because he has just arrived.”

Key joins the recently-appointed ex-Porsche LMP1 chief Andreas Seidl in bolstering the team, with the latter beginning work in the new position of managing director ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in May. 

“Well, it’s very early days,” McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown added. 

“I think he’s just in observation mode at the moment, getting to know the team. 

“We’ve made quite a few changes, starting in the middle of last year, and so it’s great to have him on board. 

“Then of course we have Andreas Seidl who will be joining us in a month to run the Formula 1 team, so once he’s joined then we’ll be pretty complete on the racing team and then we just need to put our heads down and try to go faster.”

 

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