Renault doubts F1 return for Honda, Toyota
"Now it’s only us three"
One of F1’s existing engine bosses has questioned rumours Honda and Toyota could be set to re-join the sport in the foreseeable future.
Amid strong rumours Honda will become McLaren’s works partner in 2015, and possibly supply customer V6s to Sauber, another rumour doing the rounds in Bahrain was that Honda’s traditional rival Toyota might also come back.
Both Japanese marques withdrew their works teams amid the global financial crisis late last decade, but could now be interested in F1’s futuristic ERS-powered turbo V6 rules that will come into force next season.
"Yes, even Toyota is toying with a comeback," Swiss newspaper Blick’s veteran correspondent Roger Benoit said in Bahrain.
"The Japanese have Williams in sight, and they could get Japanese favourite Kamui Kobayashi back in a race cockpit."
Senior Renault engine figure Rob White, however, doubts not only the Toyota rumours, but also the reports that Honda’s plans are already well advanced.
"If they actually wanted to come back," he is quoted by Speed Week, "then why not take part in the planning meetings?
"We have never received a request in this regard — the meetings are always only represented by Ferrari, Mercedes and us.
"But Honda and Toyota could easily ask the FIA for permission and join in."
Asked whether Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault were always alone in the turbo V6 planning meetings, White answered: "No.
"The first project meetings were held four years ago, and the interest was great — Audi, Cosworth, Ilmor, Honda, Toyota, Mecachrome and others.
"However, as it got more specific, only (Craig Pollock’s) Pure was left, but now it’s only us three.
"I simply cannot imagine that a company will enter in 2015 without having wanted a say in the rules," added White.