2018 sees the start of an exciting new chapter in Honda Racing’s Formula 1 history, as we form a fresh partnership with Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Honda has been an integral part of the racing scene on four and two wheels for the past 59 years and now we look forward to engaging in the new season alongside a team with an abundance of “challenging spirit” and racing passion. Toro Rosso’s 2018 car, the STR13 will be powered by the RA618H Power Unit over the 21 races of the Formula 1 season and each one of those Grands Prix, we will work tirelessly and with determination applying all the lessons learned, to bring to life the power of dreams.
Toyoharu Tanabe joins Honda in the new role of Technical Director, heading up our Power Unit operation at the race track. He comes from our successful IndyCar programme, as the former Senior Manager of Honda Performance Development. Having first been on the F1 scene back in the 80s, Tanabe-san has experienced success in this sport and is a man who knows how to pursue progress relentlessly.
Responsible for all of Honda’s motorsport activity, Masashi Yamamoto has a deep understanding of racing, having previously been a driver himself. He competed in a variety of championships during his time behind the wheel, such as the Japanese Karting Championship, the World Karting Championship in Macau and the World Solar Grand Prix in Australia. Looking after the sporting side of Formula 1 and developing the future strategy of Honda F1 - including partnership discussions - are key parts of Yamamoto’s role.
Born in 1996, in Rouen, France, 22-year-old Pierre drove his way up the grids of Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5 before going on to become Formula 2 champion in 2016. Confident, aggressive and a master of overtaking, he showed his skills last year driving with us in the Japanese Super Formula. Nearly taking the championship title in his rookie year, he was denied by a cancelled final race. Pierre made his F1 debut in Malaysia 2017 and will contest the 2018 season for Red Bull Toro Rosso-Honda.
Brendon comes to F1 as a two-time World Endurance Champion and Le Mans winner, bringing a prestigious level of experience and in-depth knowledge of hybrid tech to the Toro Rosso-Honda partnership. Born in 1989 in New Zealand, he moved to Europe in 2009 to compete in the Formula Renault single-seater championships. Having achieved great success in endurance prototype racing, he joined Toro Rosso for the final four races of the 2017 season and drives with us this year. Fitting his measured, technical approach with the determination of a true racer we expect to see Brendon chasing the points this season.
A paddock legend, Franz has headed up Toro Rosso since the team began in 2006. There at the start of many young drivers’ careers, including four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, he leads the challenger team to doggedly pursue every opportunity. Franz brings decades of motorsport experience to Toro Rosso’s youthful energy and will be one of our closest contacts with us on the Toro Rosso-Honda partnership.