Honda reshuffle F1 team ahead of Toro Rosso move

After a hard three-season relationship with Honda, McLaren in September negotiated a release from its contract, with the team signing up to field Renault engines for 2018.

Honda, meanwhile, will remain in Formula 1 as power unit partner to Toro Rosso.

Toyoharu Tanabe, engineer on Jenson Button's vehicle at Honda's F1 team in 2006-7, will become technical director.

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The BBC reported that the team's overall boss will be Yasuaki Asaki, with the team news release saying "an operating officer in charge of HRD Sakura will oversee research and development and the overall operation of races and testing", without naming Asaki in the position.

Tanabe, who has worked for Honda since 1984, has F1 experience, having worked as an engineer for Gerhard Berger at McLaren and as chief engineer for Jenson Button at BAR and then Honda.

He also worked in IndyCar, now holds the role of senior manager and race team chief engineer for Honda Performance Development and is believed to be highly rated within Honda.

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Honda has restructured its under-performing Formula One operations after the split from McLaren, with Yusuke Hasegawa to stand down as head of the Japanese company's F1 project at the end of the year.

Hasegawa, meanwhile, will remain with Honda in a role away from its Formula 1 programme; the amended management structure will come into place at the start of January.

"In the past, the head of F1 project assumed responsibility in both technological development and directing the team at the spot of racing", said Honda chief officer for Brand and Communication Operations Katsuhide Moriyama.

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"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".

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