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Verstappen takes five-place grid penalty at Belgian GP for gearbox change

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Max Verstappen has been hit with a five-place grid penalty at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix after the Red Bull driver took on a fifth gearbox assembly of the campaign ahead of qualifying.

Alongside power unit allocations, drivers are limited under the current F1 regulations as to how many restricted-number components (RNCs) they can use over the course of a season.

NEED TO KNOW: The most important facts, stats and trivia ahead of the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix

RNCs are components that make up the gearbox, split between the gearbox case and cassette (an allocation of four for the season), and the gearbox driveline, gear change components and auxiliary components (also an allocation of four for the season).

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Verstappen is looking for an eighth successive victory this weekend

With 11 races down, Red Bull have fitted a fifth gearbox driveline, gear change components and auxiliary components to Verstappen’s RB19 for the Spa-Francorchamps weekend, meaning a five-place grid penalty will be coming his way.

Given that the Sprint format is in play, Verstappen’s penalty will apply to Sunday’s Grand Prix, with no effect on his grid position for the 100-kilometre dash on Saturday afternoon.

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Verstappen heads into the event with an advantage of 110 points over team mate Sergio Perez in the drivers’ standings, while Red Bull lead Mercedes by 229 points in the constructors’ rankings.

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