Honda replace F1 head Arai after troubled season

Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:11am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Embattled Honda surprised partners McLaren on Tuesday by announcing a change of leadership in their Formula One engine programme less than a month before the season starts in Australia.

The Japanese company said Yasuhisa Arai, the boss who managed to keep smiling through the team's worst season last year, will step down at the end of the month and be replaced by Yusuke Hasegawa.

Honda press officers said the team had been informed only after a statement detailing a wider management restructuring of Japan's third largest carmaker was issued by company headquarters on Tuesday.

The move was aimed at bringing youth and diversity to the management team.

Hasegawa has previous experience in Formula One from Honda's time with the BAR and Jordan teams in the 1990s and 2000s.

"I need to catch up with what is going on," Hasegawa told Reuters during testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

"There are a lot of good people working very closely with McLaren so I don't think it will be a big problem.

"Compared to Arai-san, I think I am a very conservative person."   Continued...