Belgian GP: McLaren F1's Alonso and Button get first penalties

McLaren-Honda Formula 1 drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso have been handed their first grid penalties of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend

Belgian GP: McLaren F1's Alonso and Button get first penalties

Alonso receives a 30-place grid drop and Button 25 places, which means the McLaren pairing will now start at the back of the Spa-Francorchamps grid for Sunday's race.

The punishment from the FIA stewards was expected as Honda confirmed on Thursday the MP4-30s of Alonso and Button would be taking on a seventh and eighth internal combustion engine (ICE) respectively, along with other ancillary parts.

This follows Honda's upgrade of the power unit over the summer break, with the Japanese manufacturer using three of its allotted tokens for development.

Honda aims to match Ferrari with upgrade

Alonso's 30-position penalty comprises 10 places for the use of a seventh ICE, five places apiece for a seventh turbocharger and seventh MGU-H, along with five places apiece for a sixth MGU-K and control electronics.

Button gets 10 places for an eighth turbocharger, five for an eighth MGU-H, as well as five positions for a seventh ICE, and five for a seventh MGU-K.

However, following a rule change last month the most a driver can now be penalised is to be demoted to the back of the grid as the FIA opted to dispense with in-race penalties for such infractions.

Following second practice it is anticipated McLaren and Honda will take on an additional ICE, and other parts, thus incurring further - albeit meaningless - penalties.

This is to allow Honda the opportunity to analyse the latest updated power unit in the wake of its introduction, and to provide the team with systems at its disposal going forward, hopefully without any further penalties.

In light of the changes regarding penalties, it is a clever circumvention of the regulations, which may yet force the FIA's hand to close the loophole.

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