Honda F1 chief Hasegawa to leave role in overhaul

The role of Honda F1 boss, performed by Yusuke Hasegawa for the last two years, will be split into two positions.

Logo of the Honda Motor Co.is seen on the body of the 1988 McLaren Honda MP4/4 Formula One auto at Honda's headquarters in Tokyo May 16, 2013.

Despite Honda's failure to supply McLaren with an engine capable of fighting it out for the title, they successfully negotiated a new deal with the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso outfit going into next year.

Toyoharu Tanabe, an experienced Formula One veteran who worked as race engineer to Austrian Gerhard Berger at McLaren in the early 1990s, had been appointed as F1 technical director.

An operating officer, yet to be named, will take charge of research and development at Sakura in Japan while Hasegawa remains executive chief engineer. Now employed as a senior manager at Honda Performance Development in the US, Tanabe has been with Honda since 1984, working in F1 alongside the likes of Gerhard Berger (at McLaren) and Jenson Button (at BAR-Honda) as well as in IndyCars.

"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", said Honda's brand and communications head Katsuhide Moriyama.

The Japanese engine manufacturers have made the switch on the back of their disappointing three-season partnership with McLaren which ended in divorce on completion of the 2017 campaign.

Their time together was beset with poor reliability and a lack of performance from a Honda engine struggling to compete with rivals.

The team's two-time world champion Fernando Alonso managed a best finish of sixth in Hungary and his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne had seventh-place finishes in Singapore and Malaysia. Toro Rosso have New Zealander Brendon Hartley and France's Pierre Gasly.

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