PEOPLE: MASARU UNNO

Name: Masaru Unno
Nationality: Japan

Masaru Unno is Japan's representative on the Formula 1 Commission, getting his place on this vital decision-making body as part of his role as promoter of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Born at Toba, 30 miles around Ise Bay from Suzuka, Unno was a late starter in racing and did not see his first Grand Prix until 1977 when he went to Monaco in the company of former Honda F1 boss Yoshio Nakamura and 1964 World Champion John Surtees.

Unno was a Honda man, joining the company when he graduated from Tokyo's Hitotsubashi University. His first job was in Honda's export department. It was an exciting time as the young motorcycle company expanded rapidly, establishing new subsidiaries all over the world. Unno was soon sent to Europe to help develop Honda's business and became Vice-President of Honda France - one of the older Honda subsidiaries. In 1974 the company established Honda Switzerland in Geneva and Unno was named President. It was in this role that he visited Monaco in 1977 and caught the Grand Prix racing bug. As he became more senior within the Honda organization he became involved with Soichiro Honda in a variety of different business schemes in Europe and played a major role in the negotiations for the establishment of a Japanese GP, as the European representative of the Suzuka Circuit. His companies also negotiated the sale of TV rights in various Asian countries. In 1986 Unno and Honda signed a deal for a Grand Prix which took place at Suzuka in November 1987.

He would eventually be appointed the promoter of the Japanese GP and gain a seat on the F1 Commission.

When he was not wheeling and dealing Unno used to fly hang-gliders but nowadays he has his own airplane which he enjoys flying. He is also an accomplished flautist.

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