Honda’s research and development boss, Yoshiharu Yamamoto, is igniting interest that the Japanese giant may soon return to Formula One.
Honda has had a rich history in Formula One, initially providing engines to multiple teams, including McLaren, before setting up its own team in 2006. The factory team was forced to pull out of the sport in 2008 as the global financial crisis hit hard.
As fate would have it, that team, which was rebranded Brawn GP, went on to win not only the constructors’ championship but also the drivers’ with Jenson Button in 2009.
Having been out of the championship for four seasons, the company is keeping a close eye on the regulations to see if a return is possible.
Speaking with UK publication Autocar, Yamamoto said, “I do not personally think we can just go straight back immediately, but there is potential for the rules to change and attract us. I follow the rules, certainly, and if they present an opportunity then it would be nice to go back.”
With the brand beginning a revival campaign to regain its sporty heritage and lost market perception, an entry into Formula One would certainly be a move, albeit an expensive one, in the right direction.
The Japanese company is currently competing in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) with a turbocharged Honda Civic and would like to clinch that title before any move into Formula One.
“This is my personal view – not that of Honda – but I feel the first thing we must do is win in the WTCC, and then perhaps we can look further afield,” Yamamoto said.
The 2014 rule changes will see Formula One cars move to 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines, which may make Honda’s entry back into the sport an easier decision.