Fernando Alonso hasn’t had much luck recently. After five successive points finishes earlier in the year, he’s failed to see the chequered flag in the past three. And he’ll have his work cut out to arrest that slide in Austria this afternoon after his team changed components to trigger a pit lane start…
McLaren didn’t have the pace to threaten the top 10 places on the grid at the Red Bull Ring, with Alonso qualifying 13th. However, the Spaniard broke his front wing, when running over the kerbs that have damaged several other cars this weekend, during Q2.
Ahead of the race, McLaren have fitted an old spec front wing to the Spaniard’s car. As this breaches parc ferme regulations, which prohibits changes of parts to a different specification, the sporting regulations dictate he must start from the pit lane.
McLaren also took the opportunity to change the MGU-K engine component of his Renault engine. This will be the double world champion’s third of the season, exceeding his allocation of two and subsequently triggering a penalty that is ultimately moot given the front wing change.
Renault have brought a new spec MGU-K to Austria for their works team and customers. However, Alonso ran the old spec one earlier in the weekend and McLaren have opted to stick with that specification when making the change.
Meanwhile at Toro Rosso, Brendon Hartley will start from the back of the grid for the second successive race after Honda carried out a complete change of power unit elements overnight.
As Hartley was due to start 19th, Honda have opted to give him a fresh power unit for “tactical reasons” as they are adding parts to the pool for use at a later date without penalty. They insist “there were no technical issues” with the power unit.
Hartley is now running his fifth internal combustion engine, MGU-H and turbocharger, plus fourth MGU-K, energy store and control electronics. That equates to a 35-place grid drop.