Alonso set for Sochi penalty after Honda uses remaining tokens

by Paul Hensby

Fernando Alonso will take a grid penalty this weekend at Sochi after it was confirmed he would take Honda’s upgraded engine in his MP4/30 in Russia.

Honda have used their four remaining tokens to upgrade their engine, but due to the lack of spares available, only Alonso will be using the new engine at Sochi, with Jenson Button set to receive the update in due course.

The tokens have been used to develop and upgrade the internal combustion engine plus the exhaust parts associated with the ICE. Alonso will therefore take a new ICE, turbo, MGU-H and control electronics in Sochi, and will suffer a twenty-five place grid penalty, meaning a back of the grid start for the McLaren-Honda driver.

Honda had hoped to allow both Alonso and Button to use the upgrades, but the Spanish driver was allowed the first opportunity due to the fact he has completed more miles on his previous unit.

Honda F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai has revealed the engine manufacturer will have to wait until the end of 2015 before being able to address the biggest weakness, which is the efficiency of the MGU-H, with that change necessitating a fundamental change in engine architecture.

“The logical step is to change the compressor area, but because of the layout that’s not going to happen,” said Arai to Autosport. “We are still looking to improve the internal combustion side of the engine, but without changing the layout.

“It isn’t logical to bring the updates in a race where the circuit layout is already against us at a deployment situation. Austin should be one of the better races for us, that suits the car, and we do have sponsors that have big presence in that race.

“Obviously tokens involved a big change, which involves a penalty. Therefore we will try not to take penalties at a race that’s important for us.”

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