MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - Former Sauber technical director James Key has been appointed by Formula One rivals Toro Rosso to replace departed Giorgio Ascanelli in the role, the Italian team said on Thursday.
Toro Rosso announced Ascanelli's resignation on Wednesday and said Key had started work at the Faenza factory last Monday ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.
The 40-year-old Briton left Swiss-based Sauber, whose Ferrari-powered car has been on the front row and podium this year, before the start of the season. Toro Rosso also use Ferrari engines.
"With James Key in the role of technical director we start a new chapter in the history of Toro Rosso and I hope it's an interesting one," said team principal Franz Tost.
"James comes to us with a strong reputation and has proved he can help smaller teams punch above their weight. We cannot expect miracles in the next few races but James has joined early enough to have an influence on our car for 2013."
Toro Rosso are ninth of the 12 teams in the constructors' standings with Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne as drivers.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Peter Rutherford)