Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Baku City Circuit, 2017

New penalties mean McLaren drivers are docked a total of 70 grid places in Baku

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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The McLaren drivers have now accumulated 70 grid place penalties in a single weekend following more power unit component changes for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Each driver already had a 15-place penalty each for using their sixth power unit parts yesterday. Stoffel Vandoorne now has a second 15-place grid penalty for using a seventh turbo and MGU-H.

Fernando Alonso has received a 25-place grid penalty for using his seventh turbo and MGU-H plus his fifth engine and MGU-K.

Update: Vandoorne has received a further five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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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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  • 36 comments on “New penalties mean McLaren drivers are docked a total of 70 grid places in Baku”

    1. Must say that this restriction rules are stupidity. The allready punished team recieves a punishment. How is this cost saving, if they have to change the parts since they failed and they even get a grid penalty which means they also lose prize money because starting from behind?

      1. You make no sense, what cost saving has to do with the grid penalty? Mclaren is starting last. Whatever additional penalties they get after that is just academic. @proteus

        1. @pmc-carthy_is_a_legend He’s right, just not with McLaren. It’s cost-saving since this will prevent teams such as Mercedes, Ferrari and such to just change an engine or gearbox. And yes, McLaren would already start near the back of the grid, so it doesn’t hurt as much. But stating they start last is a bit too harsh and not true, Alonso has started from within the first 10 places twice already.

          1. Palmer is starting behind the Mclaren’s

      2. It is meant to stop the richer teams just changing everything before every race.

    2. Oh no! Does this mean that Alonso won’t be in the points when his car breaks down tomorrow?!?!

      1. XDDD

    3. Both sad and pointless at the same time

      1. @wombat1m Pun intended?

          1. @wombat1m No problem. ;-)

    4. Wow so many penalties FA will be racing all the way back in Monaco on Sunday, and therefore will have not missed it afterall.

    5. I think the idea of long life components isn’t really a bad one. They used to be swapping engines & stuff 3-4 times a weekend & ending up with things that were costing them a small fortune been scrapped having done less than 20 laps which was rather stupid.

      However I think they need a better way than these grid penalty’s to deal with it as these 40 place penalty’s do just make it all look really stupid.

      I often see constructor point penalty’s suggested as an alternative but I don’t think that is a solution as it would just penalize some more than others depending on how many points the teams around them in the standings are. A 25 points penalty for example would be massive for Williams & drop them from 6th to 9th in the standings (Ahead of only McLaren) while the same penalty for Red Bull wouldn’t change anything at all.

      1. “A 25 points penalty for example would be massive for…”
        No no no. That’s not how you do it. The penalty should be e.g. 10% or 25% of the currently accumulated points. Then the damage is even.

        But I’d rather remain with grid penalties and simply make them smaller. Imagine a 2 or 4 places grid penalty.
        That would be PERFECT. Why?
        Because that amount would certainly be harmfull for a Ferrari or Mercedes who are fighting for pole positions and wins, but not so harmful for the backmarkers, enabling them some more car development and progress to catch up with the top cars.

        1. @Damon: I get your point, but I think that wouldn’t work. The goal of the penalty is to make sure that they avoid using extra engines at all costs. In order to achieve that goal it’s not enough that the penalty is harmful. It has to be DEVASTATING, to completely destroy their race. If the penalty was just 2 places, a big team like Mercedes would just say “OK, a new engine is a second per lap quicker than an old one, so it will give us pole. We start from P3, and with our power advantage we overtake the guys in the front row and win the race”. Of course, Ferrari would do exactly the same. So in the end they would just change the engine every race anyway. The small teams wouldn’t be able to afford that luxury, so they would end up farther off the pace than they are already.

    6. And it’s just round 8 of 20…

    7. Wasn’t this PU penalty stacking banned for this year?

      1. Maybe, but I like the idea that with a few more penalties they can be so far back that they can start just in front of the front row.

      2. @hunocsi That’s what I thought as well! I’m curious if anyone has more info than this?

      3. I may be wrong, but I believe the change from last years is that component penalties will no longer be carried into the race as drive throughs/stop-gos if they can’t all be served in the form of a grid drop (i.e. the drop is larger than the remaining grid slots, like today).

        1. That was abandoned mid-2015 I think.

    8. How is Alonso keeping his sanity? This is way beyond hopeless.
      He should change to Indy car unless he gets a ride that will allow him to compete for a WDC which most likely won’t happen.
      He was happy while at Indy and gained a tremendous fan base. Indy isn’t as advanced technology wise, but F1 can’t seem to get out of its own way with all its nonsense rules and regulations such as this.
      It ain’t worth Fernando, you deserve better. Take Mario’s advice and get the hell out – now!

      1. “Indy isn’t as advanced technology wise”
        Why would that even matter to a driver? He’s there to drive and race, not to appreciate the technology.

    9. I get that the idea is to stop teams with loads of spare cash from changing parts in every session and to promote more efficient road car tech, however, this current grid place penalty system is making F1 a laughing stock and is crushing the teams with the worst engines.

      I think that they need to address this as a high priority as this is just stupid.

      1. @matt: The penalties aren’t crusing anybody. The “teams with the worst engines”, i. e., McLaren, are crushing themselves.

      2. A 70 places grid penalty might be ridiculous, but at the end of the day it’s just a very proper reflection of how ridiculous McHonda (currently) is.

    10. This is a fail on so many levels.

      They should deduct constructor championship points… And that is it.

      1. Don’t you think it would be a much harsher punishment for backmarkers? Even a single point deducted this way would be too damaging for the lowest ranked teams.

        A 45-grid penalty, as stupid as it may sound, at least is served in the same race that was already half-lost anyway. Deducting points risks throwing away a season-long effort and a few million dollars.

        1. Exactly, and most likely for the teams who buy engines. So buying an engine that ends up failing will then cost you millions in lost prize money. They don’t exactly come with a warranty.

          1. Customers don’t buy the engines, they rent them. The manufacturer has total control over the engine, the team can do nothing to them escept install them. Not sure how engine failure is worked out between the parties, but the teams do not own the engines; they are supplied units for the season.

    11. Didn’t Eric say it was a gearbox failure yesterday? So why more engine part replacements?

      I still do not get how Honda has go this engine so wrong. They came in a year after everyone else. I’ll guarantee they were planning to come in long before the announcement was public in 2013. So despite starting the engine project on track later than the others they’ve still had 5+ years to get an engine which is competitive and reliable. Plus there must have been at least some info from McLaren in 2014 about the Mercedes engine which could have been fed back into their development.

      Frankly if Honda cannot see how this can be fixed they should not be in F1. However F1 needs to learn from this as well. We still have a three tiered engine formula, with Mercedes and Ferrari factory teams at the top, their customer teams and the Renault powered teams in the middle, and McLaren at the bottom. Never in the last 40-50 years of F1 has the choice of engine mattered so much for so many years in terms of how well your cars perform on track.

      The FIA banned blown diffusers, tricky engine mapping and a number of other aero-related bits during the Red Bull years on the promise of reducing costs, but also to even out the competition. This was achieved within half a season most of the time, from the decision being made to the rule being put in place. Surely a change in engine regs to a cheaper, simpler power unit needs to be done faster than the current proposed timeline.

      How about a 1.6 turbo engine plus and updated version of KERS, unlimited fuel but with the same fuel flow limits as currently enforced? It’s one of lots of options which can still be hybrid in nature yet simpler, cheaper and lighter than the current set ups.

      While the current engines are fantastic tech, ABS, traction control, launch control and active suspension were fantastic too, yet we no longer see them for a number of reasons. The current hybrid power units must go too.

      I’ll end my rant there…

    12. Every time there is more than a 50+ grid penalty for McLaren Honda, they should just put a dunce cap on Hasegawa and parade him around in a Honda city.

      That should give Honda some motivation to avoid embarrassing themselves again.

      This is just ridiculous

    13. How much humility is Honda looking for? How can they be this lost for this long? They have probably set a grid penalty record over the last few years. I skipped watching Monaco to watch Alonso race the Indy 500 and then his Honda engine blew. I suppose they only want to sell lawnmowers from here on out.

    14. Doesn’t racking up so many penalties mean they need to make drive through penalties through the race? Once you reach x amount of grid penalties, they need to run through the pits? x more and they need to do a 10-sec stop-go?

    15. Andrew Purkis
      25th June 2017, 12:41

      Ive always thought it would be fairer if the number of components was for the RACE

      that way the engine manufactures could try new stuff in practice and qualy but the penaltys would only happen if they failed in the race

      it would allow them to steepen the learning curve

    Comments are closed.