LONDON -- Formula One's governing body is talking to major carmakers about technology that would harness heat generated when braking to provide bursts of extra acceleration.
A spokesman for the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) confirmed on Tuesday that they were interested in energy-retention systems of direct relevance to ordinary motorists.
"We are keen for Formula One to become a showcase for cutting-edge technologies that have a direct relevance to the motoring consumer," he said.
"It could become a shop window for manufacturers with technology that means something."
The Guardian newspaper quoted McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh as saying the system, giving drivers an extra 60 horsepower for around five seconds to aid overtaking, was attractive.
The effect could recall the turbo era of the 1980s.
"It is the sort of technical challenge which we would be keen to undertake," he said. "It's certainly something we would like to get stuck in with."
The paper quoted FIA president Max Mosley as saying that "this concept has had an enthusiastic response from the carmakers."
The discussions could be seen as an olive branch between the carmakers and Mosley, who have been fighting a prolonged battle over the sport's commercial future.
Renault and Toyota own their own teams while BMW are buying Sauber. Mercedes have a 40 percent stake in McLaren while Honda own 45 percent of BAR. FIAT-owned Ferrari have already sided with the FIA.
The governing body last week released the results of a survey of 93,000 fans from 180 countries, with one of the findings being that the sport needed to retain its high-tech image.
It found that 64 percent of respondents looked forward to technical innovations each season and 80 percent agreed that advanced technology set Formula One apart from other motor sports.
At the same time, 88 percent said that showcasing the skills of the drivers was the most essential aspect of the sport.
FIA president Max Mosley has long argued against the use of technology that costs millions to develop without any obvious benefit.
"It may fascinate the relevant engineers that by spending millions of Euros they can build a new gearbox with ratios that are 0.25 mm thinner but no-one else knows or cares," the FIA said when putting forward proposed rule changes for 2008.
"There is no additional value for the watching public who, ultimately, pay for the whole thing.
"If we eliminate pointless (but very expensive) engineering exercises, there will still remain huge areas of technical interest, some of which can be directly relevant to automobile engineering."