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.