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Tokunaga leaves Lotus for Renault

NEWS STORY
05/04/2012

Renault Sport F1 has announced that Naoki Tokunaga has joined as Technical Director - New Generation Power Unit with immediate effect.

Tokunaga, 46, from Tokyo, was previously Deputy Technical Director of the Lotus F1 Team. He joined the Enstone-based team in 2000 as a vehicle dynamics engineer. He was promoted to Head of Control Systems in 2002 and to Deputy Technical Director in 2010. He joins Renault Sport F1 with the full blessing of Lotus F1 Team.

Tokunaga will report directly to Renault Sport F1 Deputy Managing Director (Technical), Rob White, and will oversee the design and development of the new V6 power unit to be introduced for use in the FIA Formula One World Championship from 2014 onwards.

Additionally he will co-ordinate external technical partnerships, including the collaboration with Red Bull Technology, and will assess the requirements and contributions of confirmed or prospective partner teams. He will split his time between the Renault Sport F1 facility at Viry-Chatillon and the UK facilities of its partner teams.

Renault Sport F1 will continue its strategy to supply fully competitive engines and track support services to multiple teams. The new technologies of the new Power Unit require Renault Sport F1 to strengthen its existing core-skills and acquire new skills. Of particular value will be Tokunaga's detailed F1 knowledge and his experience of the engineering of complex systems, energy recovery systems, powertrain control and whole vehicle performance trade-offs.

Rob White, Deputy Managing Director (Technical) of Renault Sport F1, commented, 'The new power unit regulations are very challenging. We expect the Internal Combustion Engine and Energy Recovery Systems that make up the Power Unit from 2014 to contribute relatively more to overall vehicle performance than the current engine and KERS. Naoki will be an important asset to Renault Sport F1 with skills that are complementary to those of the existing Viry technical team.'

James Allison, Technical Director of Lotus F1 Team, added, 'While we are sad on a personal level to see Naoki leave Enstone, we believe this move will be overall positive for Renault Sport F1's customers. We would like to thank Naoki for the tremendous contribution he has made to our team during the 12 years he has been with us and we look forward to the performance he will bring us, and all of Renault Sport F1's client teams, in his new role.

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