According to Auto Motor Und Sport, the word in the paddock is that McLaren are in search of a new partner. The team are rumoured to be looking at potential new engine suppliers in light of the change to a more economical, turbo charged, power plant from 2014 - and there appears to be a chance that Honda could return to F1 with the introduction of a V6 turbo for the Woking-based squad.

When Honda pulled out of F1 back in late 2007, current Mercedes GP team boss Ross Brawn bought up the team and founded Brawn GP, which then went on to win the 2009 championship in its first year. For the 2010 season Brawn GP become Mercedes GP and this prompted the separation process with long-term partner McLaren.

An agreement was in place between Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and McLaren boss Ron Dennis that the Stuttgart outfit would sell its 40 percent stake back to McLaren and continue to serve the racing team with engines. It is believed however, that from 2013 their engine choice becomes free.

The thinking is that they could now form an alliance with a different automotive company and Japanese car maker Honda is rumoured to be the first choice at present.

Indeed a senior manager from Honda has been quoted as saying that an F1 comeback with a turbo V6 from 2014 is possible as they have everything in place technically. They only lack the green light from the Board.

The introduction of a new engine restriction in 2014 could be the perfect chance for the Tokyo-based firm to make a return. The new six-cylinder engines with only 1.6 litres of displacement - but with turbo and hybrid support - can be likened to those used for mass market manufacture, unlike the V8. F1 also wants a more economical engine, a greener image and this meets what Honda is aiming for within the market.

Honda has been in F1 already using turbo technology and of course had good experiences partnering McLaren in the 1980s before the ban on turbocharged units, with the Japanese engines dominating the scene and taking four world championship titles and 44 Grand Prix victories.

by Andy Henley