Jenson Button has been hit with a five-place grid penalty for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas after McLaren made an unscheduled gearbox change on his car.
The 2009 world champion is currently fighting for his future within F1, with McLaren considering a change in driver line-up ahead of the 2015 season.
Button has struggled this year by virtue of the troublesome McLaren MP4-29 car. Despite finishing on the podium in the first race in Australia, he has since failed to come inside the top three at a race, leaving him seventh in the drivers’ championship.
Any hopes he may have had of standing on the podium in Austin have been dealt a serious blow by this grid penalty, which will be applied to his qualifying result on Saturday afternoon.
McLaren confirmed on Twitter that Button would be taking the penalty.
Jenson has just confirmed that he’ll get a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change for this weekend’s #USGP.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) October 30, 2014
However, he will not be the only driver taking a penalty this weekend. Sebastian Vettel is expected to completely change the power unit on his Red Bull, meaning that he will have to start the race from the pit lane. As a result, it is unlikely that he will take any part during qualifying in Austin on Saturday.