McLaren Formula 1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne are poised to start Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix from the back of the grid after changes were made to their Honda power units prior to practice on Friday morning.
Alonso and Vandoorne arrived in Mexico expecting to be penalized for another change in engine elements nearing the end of a difficult season for McLaren blighted by regular issues with Honda’s power units.
After taking a drop last Sunday in Austin, Vandoorne will fall back another 35 places for this weekend’s race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after McLaren took a complete new power unit for the Belgian driver.
Alonso has been hit with a 20-place grid penalty for a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H, meaning he is poised to start at the back of the field alongside his teammate.
The penalties were confirmed by the FIA after its latest round of steward decisions, with the documents being issued through FP1 on Friday.
To make matters worse for McLaren, Vandoorne suffered an issue with the new engine in opening practice on Friday morning, forcing the team to make another change.
However, McLaren will switch back to a spare, older-spec power unit on Vandoorne’s car for the rest of the weekend, meaning no further penalties are expected.
Vandoorne and Alonso are not the only drivers that will be hit with a penalty, with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly also due to fall back five places after his car was fitted with a new control electronics system.