Formula 1

Hartley Takes Penalty for Engine Change, Alonso to Start from Pit Lane

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Brendon Hartley - Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Brendon Hartley will start from the back of the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix after Honda changed his power unit ahead of race day, earning him a thirty-five place grid penalty as a result.

The New Zealander had only qualified nineteenth after struggling for pace in Q1, meaning he would only drop behind Marcus Ericsson in the final grid order, although he will go back up to nineteenth thanks to the decision from the McLaren F1 Team to start Fernando Alonso from the pit lane.

Honda decided on a tactical move to change his power unit, with the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver taking his fifth internal combustion, MGU-H and turbocharger of 2018, as well as the fourth MGU-K, energy store and control electronics.

Hartley admitted his performance in Qualifying was not as strong as he had hoped it would be, and he was unable to follow team-mate Pierre Gasly through into Q2, and although he was slightly compromised by using an old specification front wing after damaging his new one in practice.

“Not a good qualifying, I was out of Q1 and three-tenths of a second off my team-mate,” said Hartley.  “It hasn’t really been a clean weekend, I had some of the new aero updates yesterday which didn’t go 100% to plan, but then I think we got on top of it today.

“I damaged my front wing in FP3 which meant I ran the old wing in Qualifying. It was a decision made right before the session because of lack of spare parts, so I ran a bit of a hybrid between specs, of course it was not ideal but today Pierre did a better job and the new front wing would not have given me 3 tenths but may have helped to squeeze through to Q2.

“My last lap wasn’t particularly clean and I got too close to the car in front trying to get a slipstream. The midfield is very tight and 1 tenth faster would have got me through to Q2. I am disappointed with P19 but will fight in tomorrow.”

Alonso will start from the pit lane after his team was forced to change the front wing of his car after he ran across the kerbing in the final stages of Q2 and damaged the original one.

He also had a pivot static tube in his MCL33, with the changes all being deemed as a breach of parc ferme regulations, meaning a pit lane start for the Spaniard.  He had qualified thirteenth.

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