FORMULA One chief Bernie Ecclestone has tipped BMW to make a comeback to follow Honda and return to the sport, having quit in 2009 due to the recession.
BMW bought Switzerland’s Sauber team in 2005 and spent an estimated £505m on its bid for F1 victory. It only won one race and BMW ended up selling the team back to its founder Peter Sauber.
Honda announced on Thursday that it will return to F1 in 2015 by supplying engines to McLaren.
“I would be surprised if we don’t see BMW again,” Ecclestone told City A.M., adding: “I think they could come in. The amount of money they spent was not significant in the grand scheme of things. It makes sense for them to return.”
The attraction to car manufacturers is a change to F1 regulations from next year which will force teams to switch from 2.4 litre V8 engines to more environmentally-friendly 1.6 litre turbocharged V6s.
The move is set to level the playing field as all manufacturers will have to start from scratch.
The new engines will be more like those used in road cars and are expected to lose the high-pitched screaming noise for which F1 has become famous.
Ecclestone has campaigned against them because he believes that the change in sound could put fans off visiting races. However, he says it is too late to turn back.
“The engines are fixed now like it or not,” he added. “We have got what we have got so we have to keep our fingers crossed.”