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2018 F1

No early release to McLaren for James Key – Red Bull

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Red Bull says it will not give James Key an early release from his duties at Toro Rosso.

Earlier in Hungary, McLaren announced that Briton Key is joining the struggling British team as technical director.

But Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost hit back: “James Key has a long term valid contract with the team.”

Toro Rosso is owned by Red Bull, and the energy drink company is not impressed with McLaren’s precipitous announcement.

“We have a multi year contract with James Key,” Dr Helmut Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.

“Zak Brown asked us if we would release him from this contract earlier. We were still negotiating when suddenly we read in the press that McLaren has signed him.”

Marko says the move will cost McLaren dearly.

“Mr Key will have to wait a long time before he can work for McLaren,” he insisted.

Marko said McLaren has a bad reputation now for announcing things before negotiations are complete.

“It was the same with Lando Norris,” said the Austrian. Earlier in 2018, Toro Rosso wanted Norris to replace Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso.

“We were negotiating behind closed doors and suddenly found out from the newspaper that they don’t want to give him away,” Marko said.

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