Further engine change penalty for Alonso after Honda error

Fernando Alonso - Credit: McLaren Media Centre

Fernando Alonso has been forced to take another grid penalty after taking another new power unit ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, meaning the Spaniard will start right at the back of the field.

The McLaren-Honda driver now has a 60-place penalty after grounding to a halt within 500 metres of leaving the pit lane during Saturday’s qualifying session, meaning he will start behind Lewis Hamilton, who has a 55-place grid drop of his own following engine changes on his Mercedes.

The team have revealed that an issue with Alonso’s engine during final practice was not investigated properly, with Honda F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa accepting responsibility.

“This morning we saw low oil pressure, so we had to stop the session,” revealed Hasegawa on Autosport. “We checked the data and adjusted the oil pressure.

“We had to take a risk to join qualifying, but actually my judgement was a mistake. It was not good. We have to change the engine for tomorrow.”

Alonso will start the Belgian Grand Prix with a new Internal Combustion Engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K on Sunday.

A total of 130 grid penalties have now been applied this weekend, with Alonso’s 60 and Hamilton’s 55 being added to by Marcus Ericsson (10 for a new ICE), and Esteban Gutierrez (5 for impeding Pascal Wehrlein during final practice).