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Alonso, Ricciardo, Verstappen and Sainz all get Monza grid drops

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Four Formula 1 drivers have been hit with grid penalties for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza after taking new power unit elements heading into the race weekend.

Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. will all lose places from their qualifying position, with the FIA confirming the penalties on Friday ahead of second practice.

Grid penalties have been a recurring theme for Alonso through 2017 amid ongoing struggles for McLaren’s engine partner, Honda, with a brand new power unit being taken on Friday to trigger a 35-place drop.

However, the ‘Spec 3.7’ power unit was only used in FP1 by Alonso before switching back to the ‘Spec 3.5’ unit for the remainder of the weekend. This was also raced with at Spa, with Alonso retiring after reporting an issue that Honda was unable to find.

McLaren will save the fresh power unit for the next race in Singapore where it stands a better chance of scoring points.

A similar tactic is being taken by Red Bull, which has also struggled for engine power so far this season with Renault, leading to growing frustration between the parties.

Max Verstappen will drop 15 places on the grid after Red Bull took a new MGU-H and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) on Friday, while Ricciardo falls 20 positions, fitting a new MGU-H, ICE and turbocharger.

Finally, Carlos Sainz Jr. has taken his fifth MGU-H of the season, going beyond the yearly limit of four for the first time, warranting a 10-place grid drop.

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

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Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.