Valtteri Bottas will take a five-place grid penalty into Sunday’s race in Great Britain after Mercedes confirmed that the gearbox on the Finn’s car will be replaced ahead of schedule.
Bottas, who scored his second win of the season last weekend in Austria, had seemed likely to challenge for pole position at Silverstone after topping both sessions on Friday.
But with his gearbox needing replacing without completing the mandatory six races, he now faces an automatic grid drop.
The premature gearbox switch comes just a week after team mate Lewis Hamilton was forced into an early transmission change in Spielberg, with the subsequent penalty dropping the Briton from third to eighth on the grid.
Hamilton recovered to finish fourth in the race, but lost further ground to rival Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ standings, while Bottas was able to close to within 15 points.