Cosworth admits it is "unlikely" to return to Formula 1 as an independent engine supplier, and needs external backing to come back for the new engine regulations.
The British company is involved in the discussions for reshaping the engine rules that it's hoped will be drafted by the end of the year, and is keen to race in F1 if possible.
But this would require investment either from a manufacturer or sponsor to make it financially viable for Cosworth to return to F1 for the first time since 2013.
"First off, we'd love to be there," said Cosworth managing director powertrain Bruce Wood in an interview on the main stage at Autosport international.
"It's been reported quite widely that we've been heavily involved in the ongoing current discussions.
"Where we sighted it from the beginning is that it's unlikely you will see a completely independent Cosworth on the 'if you build it they will come' [basis]. That's unlikely because I think the economics of that are hard to make work.
"We certainly hope that we might be there partnered with a small OEM that's willing to make what hopefully a new regulation will enable being a much small financial commitment to get into F1."
Cosworth is one of a number of companies, including Aston Martin, evaluating an engine for the planned new regulations.
It's hoped that by bringing down the cost of designing and producing an engine, it will be easier and cheaper for companies to get involved in F1 – with the possible elimination of heat-based energy recovery one area where money will be saved.
"It's no secret that the level of technology currently in F1 is quite prohibitive, even to somebody like Cosworth with our background getting into it because there are so many elements that are absolutely cutting edge.
"The heat energy recovery would require tens of millions of investment.
"The rules as they are being proposed would certainly technically facilitate Cosworth coming back into it and will bring down the cost barrier to entry to the point where there's a lot more OEMs, or not necessarily car manufacturers but other sponsors, see Formula 1 as something they can bring into their sorts of budgets."