Jean Francois Caubet, the managing director of Renault, has said that Japanese carmakers are reconsidering the prospect of returning to F1 when new engine rules come into play for the 2013 season.
The new regulations will see F1 machines powered by four-cylinder turbo engines, which will replace the 2.4 litre units currently used across the grid.
Speaking to Motorsport-Total.com
, Caubet said that the Japanese were looking at F1 alongside Volkswagen just a matter of years after both Honda and Toyota elected to quit the sport.
"I am surprised by their [the Japanese] interest in the new engine, but of course the cost aspect may have changed the attitude,” he said. "The Europeans are in front, the technologies are new - I suppose they cannot afford to not be here."
Caubet added that the new rules would create a level playing field for the start of the 2013 season after continued reports suggesting some engines have an advantage over others on the grid.
Despite powering Red Bull to the title, the Renault engine isn't believed to have the power of either the Mercedes or Ferrari engines.
"The engine for 2013 evens out the playing field," he said. "The dossier of the FIA speaks for itself. There are technological innovations; the competition is completely open.
"There are precise rules for the costs, the materials, the number of engines per season and the rev limit. Technologically, we have great freedom. Everyone starts with a blank sheet of paper. May the best win."