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Honda confirms Hasegawa’s departure from F1 project for 2018

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Honda has confirmed the departure of Yusuke Hasegawa from its Formula 1 project as part of a restructuring of its management team ahead of the 2018 season.

After returning to F1 as an engine supplier in 2015 with McLaren, Honda will switch its allegiance to Red Bull B-team Toro Rosso for 2018 following three difficult seasons.

As part of its changes for 2018, Honda confirmed on Thursday morning that Hasegawa would no longer serve as its head of Formula 1 project after two seasons in charge, with the role being eliminated.

Honda’s F1 interests will be Toyoharu Tanabe, who becomes F1 technical director after previously working as senior manager of Honda Performance Development in IndyCar.

Tanabe also has significant experience working in F1, dating back to being Gerhard Berger’s engineer at McLaren-Honda in the early 1990s. Tanabe also served as Jenson Button’s chief engineer at BAR and Honda between 2003 and 2007.

“In the past, the Head of F1 Project assumed responsibility in both technological development and directing the team at the spot of racing,” explained Katsuhide Moriyama, Chief Officer for Brand and Communication Operations.

“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 fulfill 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.”

Hasegawa will remain within the Honda company upon the change in roles on January 1, taking up the position of executive chief engineer.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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