Grid penalties set to hamper Vandoorne’s Belgian GP chances

Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Stoffel Vandoorne looks set to start his home race from the back of the grid on Sunday, with penalties expected to be handed down to him for taking an all-new power unit at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Honda have been working on improvements for the specification three power unit for some time, and as they will be visiting two power dependent tracks in the next few weeks, in the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the Japanese manufacturer have decided to introduce the new parts now to maximise their potential.

A Honda spokesperson confirmed the upgrade has been in the pipeline for some time, and will be run on Vandoorne’s car solely this weekend for his home race.

“Yes, we are bringing some updates here, [Yusuke] Hasegawa san will be available in Friday’s conference to ask about the details of the updates.

“Regarding the penalties for this GP, this will be officially announced by the FIA on Friday.”

The FIA have already given confirmation that the Belgian will receive a completely new unit, and that means the McLaren driver will have used his fifth internal combustion engine, eighth turbo, eighth MGU-H, fifth MGU-K, sixth battery and sixth control electronics, which all adds up to a thirty-five place grid drop.

Although Vandoorne will likely be pleased to receive the extra boost in performance, starting in last place in front of his home fans, will not have been in his plans.

Depending on how successful the updates prove to be in Spa, they may then also be introduced on Fernando Alonso’s car in Italy.