Honda has made former general manager of motorsports Masashi Yamamoto its managing director of Formula 1 in a move to strengthen its management structure.
Yamamoto has been a key figure in Honda’s recent F1 moves, including the departure from McLaren, partnership with Toro Rosso and now addition of Red Bull. With two teams to supply for the first time since Honda returned to F1 in 2015, the Japanese manufacturer has opted to create a role that gives Yamamoto the ability to focus solely on its work in the category.
“With effect from April 1, 2019, Masashi Yamamoto will take on the role of Honda F1 managing director,” a Honda statement read. “Yamamoto’s new role means that he will now focus solely on the Formula 1 operation, underlining just how important this project is to Honda, especially in its first year back supplying two teams on the grid.”
Yamamoto himself recently highlighted the pressure Honda has been preparing for since agreeing a partnership with Red Bull.
“All the decision-making and execution of Red Bull is always decided under the thought of, ‘How we can win the race and championship?’,” Yamamoto said. “It is always their first priority anytime and everyone in the team is working together towards such a clear target.
“This impression has not changed from the time of negotiation until now. It is a pure racing team and we are excited to work with such an outfit.
“In terms of the pressure, we already knew from the beginning of the conversation that they are obviously a big team and all the fans and media has high expectations for them, so to be honest there’s not much change there either. We were ready for it.
“You could describe it that half of our feeling is one of big pressure but the other half is of positive expectation.”
The current president of Honda in Mexico — Hiroshi Shimizu — will take over Yamamoto’s previous role of the role of general manager of the motorsports department.