Alonso, Ricciardo hit with grid penalties in Austria

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Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo have both been hit with a grid penalty for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix following changes made to their power units ahead of practice in Spielberg.

Both McLaren and Red Bull have been struggling with their engines at the start of the 2015 Formula 1 season, leaving both teams no choice but to exceed the limit of four power units and components for the season after just seven rounds.

McLaren’s newly rekindled partnership with Honda has gotten off to a rough start in 2015 thanks to the lack of reliability offered by the Japanese manufacturer’s power units.

This forced Jenson Button into take a 15-place grid penalty in Canada, which turned into an in-race penalty after the engine problem prevented him from taking any part in qualifying.

Now, Alonso has been hit with a similar penalty, amounting to 20 places: ten for the internal combustion engine change (ICE), five for the turbocharger change and five for the MGU-H change.

“In accordance with Article 28.4 c) a 10 grid position penalty is imposed, as this is the first time a 5th power unit element has been used, and two further 5 grid position penalties are imposed for the TC and MGU-H as this is the first time a 5th of any of the remaining elements have been used,” a statement from the FIA stewards read.

Daniel Ricciardo is also set to take a ten-place grid drop after taking a fifth ICE, with the stewards confirming his penalty on Friday.

“A 5th ICE has been used by car 3, this is a breach of Article 28.4 a) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations,” a statement read. “In accordance with Article 28.4 c) a 10 grid position penalty is imposed, as this is the first time a 5th power unit element has been used.”

In Ricciardo’s case, it is possible that he will be able to fulfil the entirety of his penalty by qualifying inside the top ten on Saturday.

However, Alonso is guaranteed to also have some kind of in-race penalty, depending on where he qualifies. Even if he started on pole, he would receive a five second time penalty, but is likely to need to serve a stop/go during the race just as Button did in Canada.