The end result may be some way off, but the message is now officially out there – Honda’s period of introspection and focus on environmental awareness is about to be coupled with a pursuit of sportiness once again.

President and CEO Takanobu Ito spelt the message out on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show, revealing that a new sportscar in the mould of the NSX is in the works, and accepting that Honda must work harder on expressing its credentials as a maker of sporty cars.

There’s no greater indication than these statements that Honda now feels ready to cast off its self-imposed horse-hair shirt, spectacularly thrown on in late 2008 when it canned plans for an NSX replacement and dumped its F1 team in favour of focusing its run-of-the-mill products.

Sadly, this shift in tack that went hand in hand with a manufacturer once associated with high-revving petrol engines and engineering innovation being perceived as a bit run-of-the-mill itself.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ito also spoke warmly of a possible F1 return – but only if the circumstances were right. No amount of desire to be considered as a sporty brand will result in Honda compromising its only recently won credentials as a maker of environmental cars.

“I feel F1 is at some kind of turning point now,” he said. “Today living is not just about performance, but environmental awareness as well. If F1 introduced some sort of technological target as well, that matches the current feelings of the world on the environment, then Honda might be excited about joining again.”

The fruits of Ito’s statements are almost certainly some years off, but there’s no doubt that Honda’s bullish stance is great news for all car enthusiasts.