Photo: Honda

Honda Restructures F1 Program, Confirm Hasegawa’s Departure

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Yusuke Hasegawa will not return to be the head of Honda’s Formula One project for the 2018 season, as the position has been eliminated.

Honda confirmed on Thursday that Hasagawa’s, who took over the role at the start of 2016 from Yasuhisa Arai, will move to a non-F1 position of executive chief engineer, effective January 1, 2018.

The changes come after three years of underwhelming performance as the engine supplier with McLaren, a partnership that began in 2015. However, the two elected to part ways and Honda will switch to power Toro Rosso at the start of next season.

As part of the restructure overhaul, the Japanese manufacturer will turn to Toyoharu Tanabe, who becomes Honda’s F1 technical director after serving previously as the senior manager of Honda Performance Development in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Tanabe’s background also includes serving as Jenson Button’s chief engineer at BAR and Honda (2003-’07), as well as previous work as an engineer with Gerhard Berger at McLaren-Honda (1990-’92).

“In the past, the Head of F1 Project assumed responsibility in both technological development and directing the team at the spot of racing,” said Katsuhide Moriyama, Chief Officer for Brand and Communication Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

“By separating these areas of responsibility, we will evolve our structure so that both the development team and racing/testing team can assume their respective responsibilities more speedily.

“By ensuring both the development team and racing team soundly fulfill their respective roles, Honda will continue its challenges so that fans can enjoy seeing Toro Rosso-Honda competing at the top level without further delay.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.