Toro Rosso technical director James Key is in line to replace Pat Symonds when the Williams chief technical officer retires at the end of the 2017 Formula One season, German-language publication Auto Motor und Sport reports.
After successful stints at Sauber and Force India, Key has continued to grow into a highly-rated figure in the paddock and earned praise for the recent Toro Rosso chassis.
Ferrari reportedly approached him over the summer in the light of James Allison’s departure. However, team boss Franz Tost has been quick to say that Key will see his contract with the Faenza-based squad through, and even labelled him as the ‘heir apparent’ to Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey.
Auto Motor und Sport says that Key’s Toro Rosso deal expires at the end of 2017, with the British engineer then moving to Grove in lieu of Symonds.
Respected journalist Michael Schmidt adds that Allison, for his part, has already been courted by several teams following his exit from Maranello. These include Renault, McLaren, and Red Bull where Newey is only involved part-time on the F1 programme.