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Alonso set for Silverstone F1 grid drop after power unit change

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Fernando Alonso is set to receive a Formula 1 grid penalty for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone after switching back to Honda’s ‘Spec 3’ power unit that he was forced to give up in Austria.

Alonso had been set to race with the upgraded Spec 3 internal combustion engine (ICE) last weekend before an issue forced McLaren to move the Spaniard back to the ‘Spec 2’ edition.

Alonso was eliminated early in Austria after being hit by Daniil Kvyat, leaving him eager to bounce back at Silverstone and try to give McLaren its second points finish of the year in a season beset by power unit troubles.

However, Alonso’s job will be made more difficult by the grid penalty, which is due to be announced by the FIA on Friday after he confirmed McLaren would be taking at least a new MGU-H for his Honda power unit.

“At the moment we will put the Spec 3 tomorrow with the new MGU-H because we don’t have an older one to run, so that is already a penalty,” Alonso said, as quoted by crash.net.

“We see how it goes tomorrow and we make the decision for Saturday if we have to take the extra penalties here.

“I don’t know what the other components are in terms of mileage, so it will not change too much to take a small penalty or a big one.

“Maybe it is better to take the big one and arrive in Hungary a little bit more safe.”

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.