Hasegawa in as Arai departs Honda role

Honda have announced that Yasuhisa Arai will leave his role as motorsport boss at the Japanese engine supplier at the end of this month to be replaced by Yusuke Hasegawa.

The Honda Motor Company Ltd announced the changes as part of their annual organisational changes, with Hasegawa replacing Arai as head of development, manufacturing and management of the Honda F1 programme. Hasegawa was previously the managing officer and director of Honda R&D, as well as the chief operating officer of the advanced research department.

Arai will remain a part of the company however, moving to the role of Senior Managing Officer of Honda R&D, while the whole Formula 1 programme will now be overseen by CEO of Honda R&D Yoshiyuki Matsumoto.

Arai had been under pressure following the disappointments the re-launched McLaren-Honda team encountered during 2015, where the team were both unreliable and uncompetitive, with neither Fernando Alonso nor Jenson Button able to secure a podium finish throughout the season.

However the timing of the appointments is a strange one, with the new season set to start next month and with pre-season testing already underway at the Circuit de Catalunya, with McLaren having launched its MP4-31 at the circuit on Sunday.