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Yasuhisa Arai

Formula 1 employee

Yasuhisa Arai
Credit: McLaren
Vital statistics for Yasuhisa Arai

As head of Honda’s R&D department, Arai was the first in line for the role to lead the Japanese engine manufacturer in their return to Formula One. Honda made their comeback as an engine supplier for the 2015 season, teaming up with old friends McLaren, and Arai was assigned as project manager to get the most of the new power unit partnership. After a disappointing first season, Arai was moved back to R&D for a year, ahead of his retirement.


Yasuhisa Arai remained a senior managing director of Honda’s R&D department, as he added another role to his business card. When Honda confirmed they would be making a return to F1 with McLaren, Arai was named as leader of the project, and since then he’s been the spokesperson for everything Honda F1 related.

Arai was rumoured to be in the paddock during the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 2014, eyeing up the competition and seeing exactly what kind of a challenge Honda are up against. For the Chinese race, Arai was front and centre in the press conference, as interest in the power units continued to grow and grow.

Over the 2014/15 off-season, Arai got down to work, and was present at the first pre-season test in Jerez when McLaren, and the Honda engine, got off to a slow start. It turned into a very difficult year for the engine manufacturer and by the start of 2016, Honda underwent a reshuffle. Arai was moved back to the Honda R&D department, where he would remain until his retirement after a year.