Recently, the World Motor Sport Council approved the proposed change to F1 engines. This new change requires all cars to switch from the current 2.4-liter V-8 setups to a smaller 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged setup. Interestingly enough, this just so happens to be the exact engine that Honda developed only months ago to run in the WTCC.
This drew suspicion that Honda might be interested in doing more than just run in WTCC with its new boosted 4-cylinder, which is also widely expected to grace the engine compartment of its upcoming Civic Type R. Autocar had a sit down with Honda’s head of R&D, Yoshiharu Yamamoto, about the engine and the possibility of Honda using this engine when F1 begins enforcing these new laws, which is scheduled for the 2014 season.
Yamamoto didn’t outright say Honda would return, but was quoted as saying “On a personal level I love racing, but there is a lot involved when you are in F1 – it is the very top of auto racing and that requires a large commitment. But it is true that we do look up at those races and hope that one day we can take part again.”
He the added “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.”
He was later grilled again on the topic and made Honda’s intentions more clear by effectively saying that if the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine has success in the WTCC, there is a chance that Honda will look into creating variants for other racing series. We all assume that one of those racing series would almost have to be F1.
So for now we have an “eh, maybe” answer about Honda getting into F1 again, but the pure fact that F1 passed the rule about using a 1.6-liter turbo engine, then Honda released the exact same engine just seems too much of a coincidence to us. We’ll keep an eye on this, as Honda continues to retest the racing realm again.