Honda brings Toyoharu Tanabe to replace Yusuke Hasegawa in F1 role from 2018
The change was inevitable after a string of poor results.
Ahead of the start of the 2018 Formula 1 season, Honda has made changes to its management team leading the F1 project with Toro Rosso. The overhaul sees the current head Yusuke Hasegawa being removed from the role of 'Honda Technical Research Institute Chief Researcher F1 Project General Manager'.
The Japanese will be moved out of the F1 scheme to a new position of 'Researcher, Honda R & D Laboratory Co., Ltd', which is effective from January 1, 2018. To replace Hasegawa, who got the F1 role in 2016, it will be Toyoharu Tanabe, who comes from the 'Honda Performance Development (HPD) Senior Manager' role.
Tanabe will be positioned as 'Honda R & D Europe UK F1 Technical Director' from January 1, 2018 as the role of General Manager will be abolished. The statement from Honda reads: "In the new regime, executive officers in charge of HRD Sakura [will] lead the research and development, as well as supervise the race and test operation.
"We will establish a new technical director, [who will be] devoted to conducting the site. Toyoharu Tanabe is appointed as the first technical director, and the position of F1 project general manager will be abolished."
Tanabe joined Honda in 1984 and has since worked both in F1 and IndyCar since 1990, when he first joined as Gerhard Berger's engineer in McLaren between 1990 and 1992, before he moved to IndyCar for engine research and race engineering work between 1993 and 2003.
Post his long stint in the States, Tanabe moved back into the F1 fold, starting his work with Jenson Button as his race engineer in the BAR Honda outfit from 2003 to 2005. He stayed with Button for couple more years when Honda entered in F1 with full manufacturer status.
After ending his stint in 2007, Tanabe moved as Honda R & D Institute F1 development manager in 2008, and was then given the Honda Engineering Research Institute mass production engine development role between 2009 and 2013.
Since 2013 until December 2017, he held the position of HPD Senior Manager and Race Team Chief Engineer. Honda's Katsuhide Moriyama commented: "We divided the responsibility range of technical development and supervision of the race field command and supervision which had been carried out by the general manager of the F1 project so far.
"Each one will evolve into a system that can carry out work more speedily. The development site and the race site will play their respective roles firmly so that Toro Rosso Honda can show you how to make a top battle in the day as soon as possible We will continue to challenge and continue to ask for your continued support."