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F1 changes yet to clear hurdles

Time will tell how much last Thursday’s meeting of the Strategy Group will actually change the direction of formula one.

The group – featuring the top teams, Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA – met in England amid ever-loudening voices calling for urgent measures to turn around flagging audiences, disinterested sponsors and struggling teams and promoters.

Afterwards, it announced that teams will be able to choose their own tyre compounds from next year — but Pirelli immediately voiced its doubts and concerns.

Also getting the green-light was faster and louder cars for 2017, with a six second per-lap boost to be achieved through aerodynamics, higher revs, fatter tyres and lighter cars due in part to the return of in-race refuelling.

“It was a good meeting,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

“We want to build the fastest cars in the world and now we will.  That was the best moment: when everyone raised their hands to vote for building the fastest cars of all time.”

However, before any of the changes can be set in stone, they will have to pass through the World Motor Sport Council, which will not meet until mid July in Mexico.

Wolff acknowledged that reintroducing refuelling, for example, is in fact still being looked at.

“Refuelling was banned because of cost and because the pitstops were taking too long,” he told the BBC.  “But we want to re-explore it and see if we can make pitstops for fuel and tyres happen in the same time it takes to change the tyres now.

“(But) if it’s too expensive, we won’t do it.”

The fact that the notoriously-divided teams are still in the discussion phase is causing some to wonder if the changes will in fact ever see the light of day.

“Basically, nothing was decided,” F1 legend Gerhard Berger told Germany’s motorsport-magazin.com, “but this is not surprising.

“Everything will remain as it is,” he predicted.