Honda Motor Co. is looking to return to Formula One motor racing as an engine supplier around 2015, a source said Monday.
Honda plans to supply new engines with small displacements, possibly teaming up with its former partner McLaren of Britain, the source said.
Honda withdrew from the F1 grid after 2008 in light of financial difficulties caused by the global financial crisis. The annual costs of joining the race are believed to have topped ¥40 billion at the time.
Honda will carefully assess the financial impact of returning to the sport before making a final decision, the sources said.
Honda, which first joined F1 in 1964, joined for a second stint from 1983 to 1992 and a third between 2000 and 2008.
During its second stint, Honda collected 69 victories under such talented drivers as Ayrton Senna da Silva, triggering an F1 boom in Japan.
The 2015 comeback would be the company’s fourth.
A comeback would likely allow Honda to use F1 technology in producing mass-market vehicles, since the race is set to make a switch in engine specifications to 1,600cc turbocharged V6s from 2,400cc V8s in 2014.
Honda plans to launch several new models around 2015.
Toyota Motor Corp. pulled out of F1 in 2009, leaving the sport devoid of Japanese automakers.
Earlier, vehicle makers Yamaha Motor Co. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. had also provided engines for F1 racing teams.