The head of Honda R&D has said he is hopeful that the Japanese manufacturer will one day make a return to Formula 1.

Honda quit the sport at the end of the 2008 season when the global economic downturn forced it to shelve its programme, with the F1 team being saved by Ross Brawn and going on to win the title as Brawn GP the following season.

With new engine regulations set to be brought into F1 for the 2014 season, Yoshiharu Yamamoto has now admitted that he would like to see the manufacturer return to the grid, with the new regulations making such a move more attractive.

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If it were to happen, it would be the latest step in Honda's international motorsport programme, which will see it enter the World Touring Car Championship next season with the new Civic.

"On a personal level I love racing, but there is a lot involved when you are in F1 - it is the very top of auto racing and that requires a large commitment," Yamamoto told Autocar. "But it is true that we do look up at those races and hope that one day we can take part again.

"I do not personally think we can just go straight back immediately, but there is potential for the rules to change and attract us. I follow the rules, certainly, and if they present an opportunity then it would be nice to go back.

"This is my personal view - not that of Honda - but I feel the first thing we must do is win in the WTCC, and then perhaps we can look further afield."