McLaren’s Fernando Alonso will start Sunday night’s Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix with a new Honda power unit after his “blew up” during qualifying.

The Spaniard exceeded expectations by managing to get beyond the first phase of qualifying, but failed to set a time in Q2 when he encountered a failure in the MGU-H. He limped back to the pits and took no further part in the session; he will start the race from fifteenth on the grid.

The team has elected to replace the entire power unit in his MCL32 before the race; shifting the two-time World Champion to the second of four complete power units he is allowed to use over the season.

“There is no warm-up, there are no laps that we can set the [new] engine, so we’ll probably have a difficult race,” Alonso predicted when speaking to the media after qualifying.

Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne failed to make it beyond Q1 and qualified seventeenth fastest, complaining of poor feeling in his car’s brakes prior to his final run.

The Belgian was also forced to switch to a new power unit this weekend after he too experienced a MGU-H failure in Friday’s first practice session.

Image via McLaren Honda

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.