Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015

McLaren pile up penalties with more engine changes

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015McLaren has changed the power units on both its cars for the second time this weekend, meaning they will face a fresh round of penalties.

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button had already accumulated 30 and 25-place grid penalties having changed their power units yesterday. As they are therefore virtually guaranteed to start the race from the back of the grid, McLaren has taken the advantage of the opportunity to introduce another fresh set of engine components.

With each driver using another new engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K, each will receive another ten-place grid penalty plus three five-place grid penalties. Alonso has therefore amassed a 55-place grid penalty, Button 50.

Max Verstappen is the only other driver with a power unit penalty so far this weekend. He has changed his engine and will move back ten places on the grid.

The table below shows how many components each driver has used so far this season:

Power unit components after final practice at Spa, 2015

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “McLaren pile up penalties with more engine changes”

  1. Do we know why?

    1. It was reported by the BBC in the week. Honda have a new spec engine in Spa. They are using 2 for each driver to get them in for the season without extra penalty (i.e. another grid penalty at Monza).

      This part of the BBC report literally made me laugh out loud:-

      Its F1 boss Yasuhisa Arai has said he is hopeful the changes to the internal design of the engine would make it comparable with the power-unit used by Ferrari

      1. @johnnik Ah, I knew about the new spec but not that they would be slipping in 2 apiece. Thanks!

  2. They’re starting, not in Germany, not in Hungary, but maybe at stavelot, or Blanchimont (Ah, drivers starting from blanchimont, that’d be great!) :P

  3. As I said before, the loophole is annoyingly silly, but whatever gives Honda some breathing air is welcome for the sake of competition.

  4. Jeez..Honda are changing engines like its going out of fashion!!

  5. Looks like Perez is keeping his car and engines good? It is not clear from the stats above why he is at the bottom if other four above him have the same level of usage?

    1. @hemzshaw
      looks like they’re in team order

      1. nope @george it doesnt look that way.. HULK is above him in the list, sandwiched by Lotus, Merc, then Williams.. so there are no other clear indications..

        1. @hemzshaw Hulk has had 3 ICE, Perez only two. You wouldn’t expect them to be together regardless of the fact they are in the same team. They look grouped in team order where the component usage is the same to me.

          1. Of course @jerseyf1 but my question is on what basis he is at the bottom?

    2. It depends on the time as well, Perez was the last guy to take the 2nd engine in Austria.

  6. with new engines for the race, they could pile up 150+ grid penalties!

  7. Keith is gonna run out of colours for the engine component use table soon!

    1. that had me cracking.. lol

    2. I don’t think my monitor will display ultra violet.

  8. So with this loophole any team could, if they wanted, use 8 engines in one weekend, take the 3,000 place grid penalty, start at the back, then be free to use those 8 engines the rest of the season without penalty?

    1. No, just 2 changes and penalties, one for qualifying and a new one for the race. And the penalties only apply if they’ve already used the years allocation, and then those engines are frozen to the spec they are homologated as.

      For instance Mercedes are on their 2nd engine. So if they used a brand new one for qualifying they’d still only be on number 3, then another brand new one for race would still only put them on 4 which is the years allocation. (They would get a pentalty for changing between qualifying and race though but not for exceeding 4 power units)

      None of the other teams would want to lock in a specification of engine like this because they have tokens to use. Honda are probably going to pull the same stunt again on the next engine development.

    2. Problem is with starting 3000 places back they’ll still be lapping
      at Spa when everyone else has moved on to the next races. They wouldn’t even start Spa til Monday with all the time needed to swap out 8 engines during the race weekend ;)

  9. does it effect their race these new penalties?

    1. Sure does, they now have to overtake the Manors to be in their rightful position.

  10. 105 grid penalties for McLaren? Insane !

  11. Under the old rules, assuming the grid penalties were the same, what would that have equated to in terms of actual in-race penalties for both drivers?

  12. Jelle van der Meer
    22nd August 2015, 20:32

    I already questioned why teams didn’t use this loophole at the Canadian grand prix. Use new engine after FP1, another one after FP2, another one after FP3, another after Qualifying just to get loads of spare engines and other parts. Does not really matter if you get 50 or 150 grid penalties.

    1. Because grid penalties used to translate to drive-thru penalties after they went past a ceryain number.

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