Ascanelli leaving Toro Rosso, Key to replace him

UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Scuderia Toro Rosso announces that Giorgio Ascanelli has resigned from his post as Technical Director.

“Over a period of almost five years, Giorgio has contributed positively to the development of our team" team boss Franz Tost said. “Especially in the difficult transition period from a simple racing team to a fully-fledged constructor he made an important contribution and his undoubted experience was very valuable to us. We would like to thank him for his efforts and wish him all the best for the future."

“I've enjoyed the past years working at Scuderia Toro Rosso," Giorgio Ascanelli said. “It has been a very intense and interesting time, in which we had to manage the transition from a small team to a much larger one, and everybody has put a lot of effort to bring us where we are today. We have sown the seeds for a successful future and I think the team challenge is now to gain a stable presence in the upper mid-field and I wish all at Toro Rosso the very best for the future."


James key

(GMM) James Key will start work at Toro Rosso on Monday morning, Italy's well-connected Autosprint reports.

With the Faenza based team's technical boss Giorgio Ascanelli going "on holiday" recently, it has been reported that his permanent replacement could be the former Sauber and Force India man Key, a 40-year-old Briton.

Autosprint said Key has now served his 6 months of mandatory 'gardening leave' since leaving Sauber and is ready to start work at Toro Rosso.

08/24/12 (GMM) Daniel Ricciardo has hinted Giorgio Ascanelli's successor at Toro Rosso could be announced imminently.

With technical director Ascanelli absent and officially on "holiday" during the most recent German and Hungarian grands prix, we reported on July 21 that his role could be permanently filled by former Sauber man and 40-year-old Briton James Key.

"(I don't know) Whether it's something that will get resolved over the break," Australian news agency AAP quotes Toro Rosso driver Ricciardo as saying.

"Maybe it (Ascanelli's departure) came at a good time and some time off and everyone can rethink.

"Maybe it will be good and, come to Spa, maybe everything will be normal again — or there could be some changes," added Ricciardo.

Writing in Germany's Speed Week, Peter Hesseler suggested Key could start his new job at Toro Rosso on 1 September.

Auto Motor und Sport suggests Ascanelli split with Toro Rosso following disagreements about team strategy and the development direction of the car.

After ousting its established drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari last year, Toro Rosso has scored just 6 points so far in 2012 with newcomers Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

"Are the drivers too inexperienced, or is the car bad?" wondered Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. "The truth is probably somewhere in the middle."

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, the architect of Toro Rosso's new lineup, exonerated the drivers.

"If it rains, they are quick," said the Austrian. "This shows that they are on it.

"The engineers went in the wrong direction with the development of the exhaust," said Marko.

07/21/12 (GMM) After leaving Faenza, and holidaying in Rimini, Giorgio Ascanelli's next stop could be Maranello.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport is reporting that the veteran engineer, officially on "holiday" according to his Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost, could be headed to Ferrari.

The report said Ascanelli is currently on holiday on the Adriatic coast.

"Nobody wants to say when he's coming back. Probably never," said journalist Michael Schmidt.

Ascanelli began his career at Ferrari in the mid 80s, and was Gerhard Berger's engineer.

He then moved to Benetton and McLaren, at the latter team working alongside the great Ayrton Senna.

Ascanelli returned to Ferrari in 1995, staying until 2001. It is known he is friends with the team's new technical boss, Briton Pat Fry, dating back to their McLaren days.

Meanwhile, it is suggested Ascanelli's role at Toro Rosso could be filled by James Key, who departed as Sauber's technical director in February.

Giorgio Ascanelli – off to another F1 team, or to IndyCar with Coloni?

07/21/12 (GMM) Boss Franz Tost at Hockenheim fuelled rumors the team's technical boss Giorgio Ascanelli has left Toro Rosso.

Italian Ascanelli, once the great Ayrton Senna's race engineer and Faenza based Toro Rosso's technical director since 2007, is not at the German grand prix this weekend.

"I can only tell you that Giorgio Ascanelli is on holiday and there's confidentiality between the two parties. That's all that I can say to this," team principal Tost said on Friday.

The Austrian would not comment further, despite one reporter surmising that it is obviously not "sensible" for a technical director to be on holiday just over a week before the month-long August break.

The reporter added that there is clearly "something going on".

"Sorry. I've said everything," insisted Tost.

Italy's Autosprint reported that Ascanelli's departure was a sudden decision in the wake of an argument with Tost at the recent British grand prix.

The report added that Ascanelli and Tost have "differences of opinion" regarding the management and technical direction of the Red Bull-owned team.

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