Alonso and Button hit with 55 places worth of grid penalties for Belgian GP

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McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have been hit with a combined total of 55 places worth of grid penalties for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix due to changes made to their power units.

A number of problems with the Honda power units used by McLaren in 2015 has led to the team exceeding the seasonal component limit of five, making grid penalties a regular occurrence for Alonso and Button.

In Austria, the McLaren drivers both received 25-place penalties, meaning that they had to take penalties during the race as they could not serve all of the grid drop.

However, the team has now gone one step further by racking up a total of 55 places worth of penalties due to the changes made to the power units on Alonso and Button’s cars.

Alonso’s car is responsible for 30 of the 55 places as: “A 7th Internal Combustion Engine, 7th Turbo Charger, 7th MGU-H, 6th MGU-K, and 6th CE have been used”, as per the FIA stewards.

Button makes up the remaining 25 places after taking: “An 8th Turbo Charger, 8th MGU-H, 7th Internal Combustion Engine, and 7th MGU-K.”

Following a ruling by the FIA last month, drivers will no longer serve in-race penalties due to power unit penalties, limiting the damage for Button and Alonso to a back row start.

It is believed that Max Verstappen will also be hit with a grid penalty for this weekend’s race, due to be confirmed by the stewards tomorrow.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).