McLaren set for more engine penalties in Mexico

Both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are set to take grid penalties at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez this weekend as their McLaren-Honda team introduce yet more engines to their cars.

Alonso will receive his eleventh internal combustion engine of the season in Mexico, despite the team being confident that a repeat of the issue that saw the Spaniard drop from fifth to eleventh in the closing stages of the race with his ‘phase four’ engine he utilised at the Circuit of the Americas last weekend won’t happen.

Honda found that a fault with an injector was the cause of his drop down the field, but the fault has now been fixed.

Alonso is also set to take an additional five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Button is set to take a double-engine penalty, with the team set to introduce one complete power unit ahead of opening practice, before adding a second new ‘phase four’ unit for second practice. The Briton will therefore take a fifty-place penalty, meaning he is more than likely set to start last on the grid in Mexico.

“It’s not a great way to start the weekend,” said Button. “But then it’s going to be a very difficult weekend for us anyway. Because of the altitude it hurts us with the compressor, more than other teams.

“It’s obviously low downforce here, and we pretty much have max downforce on the car, everyone will have, but because of the air pressure we are running Monza downforce if you like.

“Quick in a straightline, not a lot of air into the brake ducts, so there are a lot of unknowns for everyone here.

“As long as we’re on top of that, we might be OK in the race, but in terms of pace it’s going to be tricky for us here.”