Date: 24th December 2017 at 9:48am
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Towards the end of the 2017 Formula One World Championship season Honda’s Formula 1 project lead Yusuke Hasegawa was remaining positive.

The Japanese manufacturer have endured a torrid time since returning to the sport in a technical partnership with McLaren.

In the end, McLaren opted to cut their losses and unceremoniously dumped Honda during the final stages of the season.

Honda will remain within Formula One, as the power-unit of Red Bull Racing’s sister team Toro Rosso for 2018 and it is not impossible to imagine possibly powering the main team from 2019.

Hasegawa remained confident a few months ago when he told ‘We’re not close enough, but the gap is very small compared to last year and the first year.’

‘There is no doubt in this current concept, We’re choosing a very similar concept to Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes.

‘There is no reason we can’t achieve the same level of performance with the current concept.’

But whilst Hasegawa still had faith in the direction of Honda, it would seem the feeling wasn’t mutual as Honda have completed a management structure overhaul with Hasegawa the most high profile victim.

Hasegawa’s previous role has now been split into two new positions.

Toyoharu Tanabe has been named F1 technical director, whilst Yasuaki Asaki will become Chief Officer of Formula 1 engine development.

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

‘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.

‘By ensuring both the development team and racing team soundly fulfil their respective roles, Honda will continue its challenges so that fans can enjoy seeing Toro Rosso-Honda competing at the top level without further delay.’