Jenson Button, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2015

McLaren’s grid penalties to cost them 50 places

2015 Austrian Grand Prix

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2015Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso will be penalised a total of 50 places on the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Each driver will be docked 25 positions as the team replaces a raft of power unit components on their cars.

Button will take his fifth engine and MGU-K and his sixth turbocharger and MGU-H, for which he will receive three five-place penalties and one ten-place penalty.

A 20 place grid penalty for Alonso was announced yesterday. However he has now also replaced his gearbox and, as it has not been used for six consecutive races as required under the rules, he will be penalised a further five places on the grid. That brings the team’s total up to 50.

As each driver is now being penalised more places than there are cars on the grid, it is inevitable they will have to serve further places during the race. If either has more than 20 places of their penalties left to serve after the grid has been decided, they will have to serve a ten-second stop-and-go penalty after the race begins.

The stewards also confirmed Daniil Kvyat will receive a ten-place grid penalty for using his fifth new engine this year. Team mate Daniel Ricciardo already has the same penalty.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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50 comments on “McLaren’s grid penalties to cost them 50 places”

  1. Utterly bizarre rules. Just kicks a team while its down.

    1. Absolutely!

      I understand the ‘spirit of the regulation’ is basically to stop teams using new components every race. Keep costs down etc.

      But there needs to be some distinction between abusing the regulations for performance and genuinely struggling to build a reliable package.

      Some would say if Manor/Ferrari can field two reliable cars then we can at least expect this from McLaren/Honda. Of course they would be correct.

      Still, there’s something not quite right when a driver is given a 25 place penalty!

  2. This is getting ridiculous.

    1. This has been a ridiculous affair since the very first race. I said it then, and I’ll say it now: F1 is dead this year.

      Maybe next year.

    2. Well generally I hate all these regulations but you have to give the FIA the benefit of doubt here. Who would have thought that after only 7 races (!!!) Honda would need a FIFTH engine and 6th other components, and that Renault, already with a year’s experience, would also need FIVE engines for 7 races.

      If anything is ridiculous, it’s the reliability these two engine manufacturers show, while Mercedes and Ferrari are not only more powerful but more reliable as well. How they managed to do that I don’t know.

    3. Why is it ridiculous? Other teams made decisions that preserved the life of their engines, and at that time those decisions would have cost them in terms of performance, pace, and final race result, and McLaren made decisions that didn’t preserve the life of their engine. Now, when those other teams are still within their engine allocation, McLaren aren’t, so McLaren should suffer some form of penalty.

  3. Might as well go home now and save the engine mileage…

    1. Yep, Horner said why not just retire after lap 1..

      1. @fastiesty I believe McLaren doesn’t care about race results at all right now, they just want to improve the car (through the engine upgrade) thus this is a mandatory path for them and I’m glad they don’t hesitate to take it even if it is that ridiculous because of the rules.

        This rule was meant to avoid big teams overspending if I recall correctly, it is now to discourage big teams which has still something to play for to overspend (aka Mercedes and Ferrari), the other are pretty much free to spend as they target the lucky good results or even win depending on others misfortunes.

  4. I’ve never been a fan of engine and gearbox grid penalties, but I suppose they were put in place with the idea in mind that most manufacturers would be able to attain the level of reliability that Mercedes and Ferrari currently enjoy.

    The current situation is ridiculous, however. We are not even half-way through the season and already so many penalties have to be served. What’s more, it turns out that handing out penalties for separate engine components is much too severe. A 25-place grid penalty for a single driver? I could hardly blame McLaren if they box their car after lap 1 of the race. No point putting mileage on a race engine if you have to start the race a lap down, and they can anyway test at this track on a non-race engine over the course of this week.

    1. Yeah, it should be 5 for small components or 10 for an ICE. But combined, it looks silly…

    2. Where are all these penalties you talk about?Only 4 cars out of 20 have been in trouble so far…I get your stance if you are a Mclaren fan but if you take a step back and view it as an impartial observer it is not that bad!Honda made a crap engine and pay the consequences…Ferrari and Merc are doing just fine!

      1. Do you think that these more then stupid rules about no testing what so ever are good for F1 especially when new player like Honda enters the game? It would be best that everyone pull out of this joke circus so Merc can race Ferrari in their 4 car championship cause Ferrari gets big money for being Ferrari.I am sure after these stupid penalties and rules about no development other big companies were be “thrilled” to go for F1 entrance.

    3. The rules are fine, it looks ridiculous because no one thought Mclaren would have such a horrible package, everything is falling apart for them. Its just painful for many Mclaren fans to see this team as a backmarker.
      Redbull seems to have some issues but then again Torro Rosso is doing fine with renault engine, so not entirely their fault.

      1. Torre Rosso drivers are on their last engines as well and will have to take a penalty in the next couple of races

  5. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
    20th June 2015, 12:43

    Yes FIA, because this is what fans want to see. They’re so out of touch, engine limits and penalties have little affect on cost saving, it’s not like it stops them actually using extra units.

    1. It is the teams themselves that came up with these penalties…Besides Ferrari and Merc are doing just fine!Would you rather have an allowance of 45 engines a season?Be real man…Bloody hell so many people are just so damn emotional!This is a professional sport not a charity run!

      1. For a professional sport u need to have money. If u dont have it, u have no right to be in the sport. People like u have managed to destroy the F1 in last 10 years. Hope youre proud.

  6. All sounds a bit silly really. Especially when drivers get less punishment for much more serious infringements than driving an unreliable car.

  7. Guess i will be in the minority but i really don’t feel sorry for McLaren or any other team if it was in the same position (even the one i support)…Firstly it was the teams themselves who agreed to the grid penalties and 4 engines, secondly it is only 2 cars out of 20 so no reason whatsoever to say this rule suck or anything…Third reason is that even without penalties and an allowance of 45 engines a season McHonda would still suck and be stopping anytime they turn a wheel…Fourth and last reason is that this isn’t a charity run, it is a sport so if u skip training or produce a crap engine take the hit!The 14 other cars running reliable engines are doing just fine.

    1. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
      20th June 2015, 12:48

      The thing is though all these limits on ICE and components was meant to save costs but it really doesn’t. The teams will still use as many components as they need in a year, the only difference is once they go over the limits they get hit with penalties. Where is the money saved?

      Also it may only be a couple of teams at this race but look at the tables of usage. These penalties are going to keep coming for most teams over the rest of the season.

      1. The fact that the two manufacturers supplying the majority of the field are doing just fine is testament to the fact that this rule isn’t all that bad,like i said it is only 4 cars out of 20 suffering bad reliability…Another thing is the fact that even if the limit was 5,6 or even 7 engines someone would still get penalties so there is no magic number and they could not know it before the start of the season…Last point is that this isn’t a charity run, i get your point but what do you think should be done?Make life easy for McLaren and Renault out of pity?Come on man,get real…

      2. @weeniebeenie Without the rules, the teams would gladly be going through one or two full drivetrains per weekend. So yes, the rules are saving the teams money.

        1. No they arent…Due to penalties and engine changes, they lose points and still they need to buy new parts…The rules and regulations are so complexed that its just stupid really. The only thing they managed to ensure with this rule is, no new engine suppliers for decades and domination for Mercedes for at least 2-5 seasons…

          1. @proteus Yeah but at least Ferrari and Merc-engined teams aren’t (+ STR) so it saves them money.

            The penalised teams spend less than they would’ve if there were no limit on engine components.

            And the fact that the rule exists means than reliability is a concern in developing the engine which means that the engines inevitably last longer than in 1999, despite not long enough to avoid penalties.

          2. @proteus You are assuming that their engine designs would have been identical without said rules in place. They wouldn’t be.

      3. Total stupidity and another nail in the coffin for the ‘Eff Wun Circus’!
        I understand the perceived need to cut costs but this is not the way to do so in year two of a new power train concept.
        Cost savings are easily made, stop paying obscene amounts of money to drivers and team principals, bring the ‘Entertainment Suites’ back into the real world and get rid of all the freeloading ‘Celebrities’ that show up for no good reason.
        MotoGP seem to manage fine as usual.

    2. I kind of feel a bit sorry for Red Bull and STR because Renault are just completely incompetent, but otherwise I fully agree.

  8. It is all testing only anyway this season for McLaren.

  9. As silly as this amount of penalties is, the previous system was not much better: in certain circumstances you could get away “free” with an engine change, now you have to pay a penalty. Then again, a line should be drawn somewhere.

    1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      20th June 2015, 15:51

      @kaiie maybe a harsh solution, but faster, would be: Once you get a certain (huge) number of grid penalties, the team can run in the end but not score points (McLaren keeps saying “it’s a test”), or simply ban them for a race and start clean of penalties the next one. Not letting them race a GP would be really hard, but it would ensure teams don’t start changing all an engine in a race to ensure next GP will run smoother.

  10. And this is only the 8th race of the SEASON. Meaning there are 11 more to go… Jesus.
    I doubt they will even score any more points this season…… and STILL Ron refuses to take a step back and show some humility. They scapegoated Whitmarsh after a so-so season and every season since, the team loses more and more ground under Ron’s leadership. A good PR-team doesn’t equal a good team.
    Poor Jenson and Fernando… Especially after all the crap Ron pulled at the end of last season. They both are under contract for 2016, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them retire after that. Fernando for his cycling team and Jenson for WTC/LeMans or perhaps BBC/Sky(he is bound to end up there sooner or later).

    1. pastaman (@)
      20th June 2015, 15:28

      Everybody knew this season for McLaren would be a wash, apparently you didn’t get the memo.

      1. You mean like last season. And anyway, it has very little to do with their actual performance, but rather their improvement and reliability or lack there of. Of course they’d have issues, but this is embarrassing and poorly managed, flat-out.

        1. You can credit last season to Whitmarch not Ron. When Ron took over the car was already built you know.

  11. Why not just paint some more start positions on the track & have them start from there, that has to be the best way to do it?

    I’m not sure how people can keep defending F1 from being called a joke anymore.

    I never thought i would say this but Formula E is more entertaining now than Formula One :/

      1. They may as well yeah.

  12. They’ve been penalised more than the entire NASCAR grid and 2005 US GP field combined.

  13. So they will start 10th on the grid in Monaco?

  14. I don’t get why people blaming the rules on this one. The aim for F1 has been increasing reliability since last decade which a great goal. It reduces cost and not wasting resources. The rule itself never made with the intention to have someone get ridiculous grid penalty, probably they think 15 places is the worst it could happen. However we have weird situation this year when a world class engine company like Renault and Honda really drop the ball on reliability. Even if you say Honda has 1 year behind development time, they not performing to last year spec (which require them to have 4 race per engine rather than 5 this year). Renault is even worse since last year engine is much better than this year. So the rule and penalty is totally fair and the blame is purely on the engine manufacturer.

    Also for people who say Button and Alonso should quit after 1 lap, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard. An early Safety Car will negate those penalties quickly. Also if it rains tomorrow, they still have a good chance to capitalise on that.

    1. The engines were ultra reliable until they changed them last year to this stupid hybrids, thus last year everyone was back to square one & because of the stupid tokens the team with the best engine (Mercedes) will always have the better engine & of course Honda are at a disadvantage because everyone has a year on them & reliability built in.

      1. @alan77 First of all, hybrids is not stupid. Second, everyone knew the reliability requirement before they start the development years ago. Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault done it last year when their engine is reliable enough in the first year, so its not because the rule change. If anything, Honda should be able to make engines that last for 4 races just to get the same reliability achievement that Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault get in their first year. They don’t so it’s their own fault. Also Renault really drops the ball because they managed to make their reliability much worse than last year.

        You can’t make engines that barely last one race then blame tokens for lack of development. Especially when your engine is not even as good as what others did during their first year in same formula. Honda fails a big time this year and everyone knew it. The good thing is they don’t play the blame game unlike RB and Renault.

  15. What Honda should do is rename the engine department as Honda2 and enter the supplying mid-season. 4 Fresh units without the penalties.

  16. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
    20th June 2015, 15:48

    At this rate, they will accumulate so many penalties in the end that the final penalty will be: McLaren will start the Abu Dhabi GP at the Brazilian grid.

    1. +1 =))

      Funny, but for the reliability problems and penalties McHonda and Renault-Bull are the only one to blame, not the rules… last year was ok, this year they dropped the ball, or should I say “bull” =))

  17. I’m in the minority on this one, but I don’t feel sorry for any team that gets a penalty for using extra engine parts.

    The rules are very clear and are the same for all teams. There was plenty of warning – the target of 4 engines for the whole season has been well publicised for years, and Mercedes and Ferrari have risen to the challenge.

    In Honda’s case, they’ve had a whole extra year unbound from the rules to develop a solid and reliable engine. Unlike Haas, who are exploiting this in the hope they will be competitive next season, Honda seem woefully under prepared for F1 2015.

    What would be really unfair, is to almost reward their unreliability by changing the rules and allowing them extra engine components. In this area at least, F1 has a vision of where they want the engines to be and they are right in sticking to it.

  18. Are they starting their race driving from England on Sunday morning? They drive all the way through Germany. Good thing there are no speed limits on German Highways. Plus it’s sunday, shouldn’t be too much traffic if they leave early. Is Magnussen following on a 650S with sandwiches and some water?
    That is pathetic. F1, get simpler, please!!

  19. What do you want Formula 1 to be, FIA et al?

    Do you want a top down series that involves manufacturers in industry-level duels of technological might? Do you want the big automotive titans in the world wanting to participate in your series in order to show off their ingenuity ? Because you’re over-regulated the technical formula until there is almost no point for a manufacturer to think of joining. You’ve forced them to do the vast majority of the components in exactly the same layout as the incumbent manufacturers. You expect them to get it perfect right out of the gate or else be ridiculed for at minimum a season where they get less development credits than the manufacturers who have had an extra year. So with the exception of a couple of hybrid system layout freedoms, you stifle creativity, you stifle development, and the cost is still astronomically higher than other motorsport forms. Why would any manufacturer in their right mind want to join your series now?

    Do you want a bottom up series that involves smaller teams coming in and being the Davids who challenge the constructor Goliaths with ingenuity and adaptability? Because you have made sure that the corporate interests are so well served that even large scale multinational corporations can’t afford to maintain programs, much less a small but inventive group which used to be your lifeblood. Has banning development in its traditional form solved this issue? Have any of the countless cost saving measures championed by the various talking heads alleviated this burden and allowed new teams to enter the sport? Hardly, and we’ve got some long time standbys holding on by their fingernails at the moment. A shameful situation.

    The powers that been seem positively gleeful to stick it hard to both the big guys and the little guys, to alienate everyone in equal measure except those with a written-in-stone commercial interest. Amazing to me that the various regulatory organizations are fine with specifying so many broad and small details of the cars technically, and yet they bristle at the notion that any sort of funding control is even possible. Everything except money is overregulated to ridiculous levels and the funding flow, the one thing that should be in some form regulated for the long term health of the sport, isn’t even attempted on some manner of philosophical basis.

    This is emotional, sure. Its not directed at McLaren or at Honda. McLaren helped draft some of these rules, and Honda knew full well what they were getting into. To their credit, they’re taking their pill without loud complaint, but their performance is up to them. I just can’t help but be so very saddened that such a great series is reacting so badly to crisis. The details are very different but the total lack of sound leadership reminds of the CART split, and we all know how that went down…

  20. I am wondering if I am watching F1 because I want to see the best drivers in the world race each other at the very limit of endurance, or as I am beginning to believe, watching a mucky mess of bureaucratic regulations, ridiculous penalties and over sophisticated fragile engineering that is sapping the thrill, life-blood and enjoyment right out of F1…… Come on Bernie, stop bleeding everyone of all that money and lets get back to basics & some good old fashioned racing.

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