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Rampf steps down as Sauber technical director

ESPNF1 Staff
February 24, 2010 « US F1 loses sponsor | »
Willy Rampf has been at Sauber since 1994 © Sutton Images
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Willy Rampf has decided to stand down as technical director at Sauber and will be replaced by Force India's James Key.

Rampf has been at the team since its second F1 season in 1994, but will now make way for Key who announced his decision to leave Force India on Tuesday. Key had been at the Silverstone-based squad since 1998, when it was running under the Jordan name, and was instrumental in the design of its latest VJM03 challenger. He said that he sees great potential at his new team and was looking forward to taking full control on April 1.

"The first time I saw the facilities in Hinwil, I knew straightaway the kind of opportunities open to me there," Key said. "The wind tunnel, the supercomputer, the machine park and the expertise of the team were extremely persuasive. There is significant potential at Sauber, and with the ever-changing world of F1 I think the team is very well placed at present. I am grateful to my old team for the past 12 years I spent with them, but now I very much look forward to starting my new job."

Team principal Peter Sauber thanked Rampf and said he had high expectations for his replacement.

"Despite his young age, James looks back on more than a decade of experience in Formula One - and the 2009 [Force India] car in particular proved quite a revelation," Sauber said. "James comes from a private team and knows how to work around a limited budget. With us he will enjoy high-level technical opportunities. Willy and James will be devoting April to the handover. I have known about Willy's plans for some time of course and fully understand his decision. He has achieved great things for our team."

Key will be replaced by Mark Smith at Force India, who was previously working as its design director.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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