Button hit with five-place grid penalty for Austin

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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.

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.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.