Alonso handed 35-place F1 grid penalty for Honda’s home race

Getty Images
1 Comment

Fernando Alonso has been handed a 35-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka after a hydraulic leak on his Honda Formula 1 power unit forced McLaren to make changes overnight.

McLaren broke its curfew for the second time this season so it could replace Alonso’s entire power unit following practice on Friday at Suzuka, triggering a 35-place penalty after taking a fresh set of elements.

Alonso will run with a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, MGU-K, turbocharger, control electronics and energy store for the remainder of the Japan race weekend, racking up a 35-place grid drop in the process.

The changes were confirmed by FIA technical Jo Bauer in his report filed ahead of practice on Saturday, with the penalty formally set by the stewards later in the day.

Alonso finished 10th during qualifying at Suzuka, meaning he will start last behind the other penalized drivers.

The news comes as a setback for Honda at its home race weekend where it hoped to continue to build on its recent progress, having scored points in Singapore and Malaysia through Stoffel Vandoorne.

The McLaren-Honda partnership will conclude at the end of the season following three difficult years, with this weekend’s race being the last chance to record a points finish together.

Besides Alonso, Carlos Sainz Jr., Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Jolyon Palmer will also take grid drops, resulting in a shaken up grid at Suzuka.