Honda replaces motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai

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Yasuhisa Arai will be replaced as Honda’s head of motorsport at the end of the month as part of a shake-up of the Japanese manufacturer’s Formula 1 department.

Honda returned to F1 in 2015 as an engine supplier after six years away, teaming up with McLaren to reforge the famed partnership of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

However, it proved to be a difficult maiden season of partnership as issues with the power unit provided by Honda limited McLaren to just 27 points across the course of the year.

Drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were left disgruntled by the recurring problems, but both will continue to race for McLaren in 2016.

Arai will no longer be a part of the McLaren-Honda operation from March 1 though after the Honda board voted to replace him.

His duties will be taken over by Yusuke Hasegawa, who takes up the role of executive chief engineer and head of F1 project as of March 1.

Hasegawa will be aided by former Honda India CEO Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, who becomes supervising director of F1 project and president, chief executive officer and representative director from April 1.

Arai will be moved to Honda’s research and development department, taking up the position of senior managing officer.