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Alonso handed 35-place F1 grid penalty for Honda’s home race

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Fernando Alonso has been handed a 35-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka after a hydraulic leak on his Honda Formula 1 power unit forced McLaren to make changes overnight.

McLaren broke its curfew for the second time this season so it could replace Alonso’s entire power unit following practice on Friday at Suzuka, triggering a 35-place penalty after taking a fresh set of elements.

Alonso will run with a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, MGU-K, turbocharger, control electronics and energy store for the remainder of the Japan race weekend, racking up a 35-place grid drop in the process.

The changes were confirmed by FIA technical Jo Bauer in his report filed ahead of practice on Saturday, with the penalty formally set by the stewards later in the day.

Alonso finished 10th during qualifying at Suzuka, meaning he will start last behind the other penalized drivers.

The news comes as a setback for Honda at its home race weekend where it hoped to continue to build on its recent progress, having scored points in Singapore and Malaysia through Stoffel Vandoorne.

The McLaren-Honda partnership will conclude at the end of the season following three difficult years, with this weekend’s race being the last chance to record a points finish together.

Besides Alonso, Carlos Sainz Jr., Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Jolyon Palmer will also take grid drops, resulting in a shaken up grid at Suzuka.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)