The head of Honda R&D has told Autocar he hopes the marque can return to Formula One in the future, fuelling speculation that it is evaluating the new 1.6-litre turbo rules that will be introduced from 2014.

Yoshiharu Yamamoto, told Autocar: “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. 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.”

Honda recently committed to the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), where the team will run a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. As a result, the next Honda Civic Type-R road car, due for launch in 2015, is widely tipped to run a turbocharged engine.

In an exclusive interview with Autocar magazine this week Honda president Takanobu Ito has admitted the firm is developing other turbocharged engines for sale in Europe, shifting the firm away from its long-held support of high-revving naturally-aspirated units.

That shift could tally with a renewed interest in Formula 1’s revised regulations. However, Yamamoto admitted the firm had to hit other targets before it could consider returning to F1 for the first time since 2008.

“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,” he said.