Stoffel Vandoorne has claimed the unfortunate crown of being the first driver in the 2017 Formula 1 season to earn a grid penalty for exceeding his power unit allocation, barely more than three Grands Prix into the year.
Under this year’s rules, drivers are allowed to run a maximum of four distinct power unit elements over the entire season without penalty.
The McLaren driver suffered yet another Honda-induced failure in the opening practice session of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix and, without enough time until the start of FP2, the team elected to change the entire power unit.
Vandoorne had already been switched onto his fourth turbo and MGU-H in the lead-up to the round at the Sochi Autodrom, and the further swap put him onto a fifth of each. The end result is a 15-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.
Given the Honda power unit’s ongoing reliability woes, it will be only a matter of time before Vandoorne’s teammate Fernando Alonso suffers a similar fate, and Vandoorne faces further grid drops over the rest of the season.
Image via McLaren Honda