Hasegawa departs F1 in Honda reshuffle

Yusuke Hasegawa, Head of Honda Formula 1 Project

Yusuke Hasegawa will no longer be the head of Honda's Formula 1 project in 2018, it's been revealed.

Hasegawa has been in the post for two years after taking over the role at the start of 2016 from Yasuhisa Arai. He's leaving as part of a management overhaul, and will take up the non-F1 position of executive chief engineer.

In a statement, the Japanese manufacturer said that Hasegawa's F1 experience will now allow him to contribute to a variety of global research and development projects focused on future mass production.

Hasegawa had come under intense criticism after Honda failed to improve the performance of its power unit this year. A lack of power and reliability led to the break-up of its partnership with McLaren after three troubled seasons.

Next year, Honda will provide engines to the Toro Rosso team.

The man taking over from Hasegawa as the manufacturer's F1 technical director will be Toyoharu Tanabe. He will be focused on racing operations, as well as the testing of the 2018 power unit.

Tanabe has been at the company since 1984 and is no stranger to Formula 1. He was previously chief engineer for Jenson Button, firstly at BAR and subsequently at Honda F1. He also has experience in IndyCar and is currently senior manager and race team chief engineer for Honda Performance Development.

Hasegawa had also been responsible for engine development in Sakura, but the management reshuffle sees these duties split. Instead, Yasuaki Asaki will be operating officer in charge.

“In the past, the head of F1 project assumed responsibility in both technological development and directing the team at the spot of racing,” explained Katsuhide Moriyama, Honda's chief officer for brand and communications.

“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.”

The restructured operation comes into effect on January 1, 2018.

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