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...but Honda wants in

A leading Japanese sports newspaper has reported that Honda is aiming to be back in F1 officially in the year 2000. According to an unidentified source quoted in the story in the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the official announcement of a return to racing will be made next year. The story was denied by Honda spokesmen although they did acknowledge that the improved financial situation means that Honda may soon be in a position to return. After some troubled years in the early 1990s Honda is now back in profit and wants to use F1 to boost its sales in Europe - which remains F1's major market at the moment. The story did not suggest whether or not Honda is considering returning to F1 as an engine manufacturer or as a car builder as well. After the company pulled out of F1 at the end of 1992 Honda research and development engineers built a secret F1 prototype car which was spotted testing on various occasions in Japan. Honda has always been very keen to play down links between itself and the Mugen company - which is owned by Hirotoshi Honda (son of the Honda company founder and 40% owner of the Honda Motor Co.) - but there is no doubt that there has been a factory involvement throughout the program. We believe that the contract between Jordan and Mugen states that the Mugen V10 engines which will be used by the team next year will be designed and developed by Honda and prepared by Mugen.

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