Tokunaga switches from Lotus to Renault Sport F1
5 April 2012 – Naoki Tokunaga, Deputy Technical Director of Lotus F1, will be leaving the outfit at the end of the week. Having worked with the Enstone squad since 2000, the Japanese has now decided to join engine supplier Renault Sport F1 as Technical Director.
Tokunaga joined the team then known as Benetton as a Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, being promoted to Head of Control Systems and Deputy Technical Director in 2002 and 2010, respectively. He has been a key part of Lotus’ KERS development programme.
“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,” says James Allison, Technical Director for Lotus.
“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.”
Working between Renault’s facilities in France and the United Kingdom, Tokunaga will report directly to Deputy Managing Director Rob White and work on the new V6, turbocharged engines which will enter Formula 1 in 2014.
“The new power unit regulations are very challenging,” White explains. “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.”
Renault currently supplies powerplants to four teams on the Formula 1 grid: Lotus, Williams, Caterham and World Champions Red Bull.