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Vandoorne set for Belgian GP grid penalty after power unit changes

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Stoffel Vandoorne’s first home race in Formula 1 has got off to a rough start after Honda confirmed it had changed a number of components on his power unit, leading to a 35-place grid drop for the Belgian Grand Prix.

McLaren has struggled for much of the season due to a lack of reliability with its Honda power unit, limiting the team to just three top-10 finishes through the first 11 races.

Vandoorne arrived in Belgium off the back of his first points of the year in Hungary last time out, but looks set to start from the back row by virtue of his grid penalty.

Honda has been forced to change a raft of parts on the power unit including the ICE, MGU-H, Control Electronics and Energy Store, tallying a 35-place drop so far.

“Both Fernando and Stoffel will be running upgraded power units this weekend,” Honda motorsport boss Yusuke Hasegawa confirmed.

“Unfortunately Stoffel will receive a grid penalty at his home grand prix, but it is important for us to introduce updates as soon as they are ready.

“It is positive that we have been able to introduce this next step forward so quickly, and we will continue to introduce updates throughout the remainder of the season.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.