Turbo return set to entice another major player back to the grid?
As Porsche mulls over the pros-and-cons of an F1 comeback for the first time in more than two decades, another major manufacturer - one that departed the fray far more recently - could similarly be on the cusp of a return...
It seems Porsche is not the only major manufacturer interested in making a return to F1 should the proposed new turbocharged era materialise in 2013, with speculation that Honda – who only walked away less than two years ago – is similarly eyeing a potential comeback to the fray.
The possibility of Porsche being represented on the grand prix grid for the first time in more than two decades is to be debated at a Volkswagen board meeting early next month, and has ostensibly gained the support of influential F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone [see separate story – click here] – but Honda is an altogether more intriguing prospect.
The Japanese car maker became the first of a string of shock manufacturer exits from the top flight when it pulled the plug on its involvement in late 2008, lighting the blue touch paper that would see the likes of Bridgestone, BMW, Toyota and very nearly Renault all follow suit over the subsequent twelve months as the debilitating global credit crunch took a firm grip on the world's most expensive sport.
The catalyst for the departure was insufficient on-track return for the money invested into the Brackley-based outfit – which, somewhat ironically, would go on to clinch both the drivers' and constructors' trophies the next year as Brawn GP, following the wholesale sell-out to Ross Brawn.
However, with the proposal being for 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged units in 2013 and beyond – and Honda having achieved supreme success in the sport's previous turbo era back in the 1980s – it seems an about-turn could just be on the cards, with SPEED TV commentator and respected F1 journalist Will Buxton tweeting: 'Hearing a rumour that a certain Japanese engine maker wants to return if turbos come back in 2013. Starts with 'H', ends in 'onda'.'
Like Porsche, Honda has been involved in F1 – and achieving success at the highest level – since back in the 1960s, and it has been mused that the re-appearance on the grid of two of the sport's most legendary names and experienced competitors could shake up the order and, providing they are similarly successful again, set a whole different benchmark for new entrants to need to attain.