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McLaren, Honda big winners in strategy group meeting

The infamous Formula One strategy group released a press statement on Thursday afternoon to the Silverstone press room outlining decision made at its meeting at Biggin Hill on Wednesday afternoon.

Chief amongst its conclusions was to overhaul regulations pertaining to engine and fuel use, including emergency provisions to allow Honda, as a first-year engine supplier, to use a fifth engine this season.

“It was agreed to allow an extra power unit per driver in the first year to any new manufacturer entering the championship and, for the sake of fairness, the measure will apply retroactively to Honda for the 2015 season,” read the statement.

The decision must still pass through Formula One and the FIA’s numerous levels of bureaucracy with unanimous approval to be adopted immediately.

Power unit penalties were also addressed following the laughable imposition of a 25-place grid penalty on Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button at the Austrian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

“An overhaul of the power unit penalties has been unanimously agreed and will be submitted to the F1 Commission via an express fax vote for an adoption at the World Motor Sport Council in Mexico City next week,” the statement proclaimed, though no further detail was forthcoming.

Decision over cost of the new generation of power units to teams — and issue raised this week by FIA president Jean Todt, who regretted not taking the opportunity to cap manufacturer sale costs in the same V8 engine supply deals were cost capped — was less concrete, with talk only of a suggestion to investigate handed down by the group.

“Mandate has been given to the FIA and FOM to propose a comprehensive set of measures for power unit development and cost of supply, including full review of the token system, increase in race fuel allowance, limits on the usage of engine dynamometers etc.”

Finally, the strategy group reiterated the decisions it made earlier in the year regarding tyres — it confirmed it is on track to deliver free tyre choice in 2016 — and regarding regulations in 2017 that promote “more aggressive” looking cars, including “wider cars and wheels, new wings and floor shape, and significantly increased aerodynamic downforce”.

The reintroduction of refuelling was suspiciously absent. It is understood to have been rejected for further perusal during yesterday’s meeting.

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