Honda have overhauled their F1 management structure in the wake of their divorce from McLaren.
F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa has been replaced with his role to now be split in half as Honda target improved performance in partnership with Toro Rosso from 2018 – with a technical director installed to oversee operations at the race track, while an operating officer heads up engine development in Japan.
Toyoharu Tanabe, who joined Honda in 1984, has been installed as technical director and has past F1 experience after being an engineer to Gerhard Berger at McLaren in the early 1990s and then Jenson Button at BAR/Honda in the mid-2000s.
The new operating officer has yet to be named.
The changes end Hasegawa’s two-season spell as Honda’s F1 boss in which the engine maker continued to struggle with engine performance and reliability. Predecessor Yasuhisa Arai was replaced at the end of 2014 after a woeful first season for Honda back in F1 after six years.
Hasegawa will continue to hold the title executive chief engineer with his focus set to shift to projects outside of F1.
“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, the Honda Motor Company’s chief officer for brand and communication operations.
“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 fulfil 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. Thank you for your continuous support.”
Despite their wretched results back in tandem with McLaren, Honda have continued to insist they are determined to achieve success in F1 and decided against walking away from the sport by teaming up with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso.
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(c) Sky News 2017: Honda in F1 overhaul after McLaren split, boss Yusuke Hasegawa axed