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SBD Global/October 11, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Honda CEO Would 'Welcome' Automaker's Possible F1 Comeback In 2014

The financial crises led to Honda's withdrawal from F1 in '08.
Honda "could make an F1 comeback in '14," according to AUTO BILD. Honda Research & Development CEO Yoshiharu Yamamoto said that he "would welcome an F1 return." Yamamoto said, "It is true that we watch the races and hope to return at some point." Although Yamamoto does not believe in an immediate F1 return, he "sees the potential that the upcoming rule changes provide." He said, "I obviously follow the rule changes, and if they provide an opportunity for us then it would be nice to come back." The financial crises in '08 led to Honda's withdrawal from F1. It seems that "Honda's return is dependent on whether F1 goes through with its proposed engine change or not." The plan calls for new, less expensive 1.6-liter turbo engines to replace the currently used 2.4-liter V8 engines in '14. The change "seemed practically implemented," however,  F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "recently hinted that he wants to stop the change at the eleventh hour." French car maker Renault, which provides four teams with its engines, "would be far from pleased if Honda returns." Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes are the only three car manufactures currently active in F1. Therefore, a Honda comeback "would be extremely attractive" (AUTO BILD, 10/10). MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN's Robert Seiwert reported that Mercedes Motorsport Dir Norbert Haug "would not mind seeing manufacturers return to F1." Haug said, "The new engine is an attractive opportunity. Everybody is welcome as long as the pit is long enough. It isn't my decision, but we like the competition." He added, "If you win in F1, and especially with our factory team, then it is extremely positive. It isn't our choice if Toyota, Honda or BMW participate or not, but for us as a premium manufacturer it is positive to compete in F1. Of course it isn't good if you don't win. We had to experience that this season" (MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN, 10/11).
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