Barring a stellar performance in Saturday’s qualifying session, McLaren stand-in Jenson Button will start Sunday’s Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix from the back row of the grid after McLaren was forced – yet again – to swap out a number of elements in its troublesome Honda power unit.
The Englishman is back on the grid in a one-off drive for the Woking squad while Fernando Alonso attempts to win the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie.
Having taken over the Spaniard’s car – which has already had four different MGU-H and turbo chargers over the first five Grands Prix – the team was forced to swap to a fifth of each element ahead of Saturday’s third practice session.
Under this year’s regulations, fitting any of the power unit’s elements for a fifth time will incur a 10-place grid penalty for the first offence, and a five-place penalty for each additional change. The penalty system is repeated for a sixth change, and so on.
Button will therefore drop 15 grid spots, all but cosigning him to a long afternoon from the back of the grid.
Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne will start three places lower thanks to his punishment from the stewards for his collision with Williams’ Felipe Massa at the previous Grand Prix in Spain.
This latest blow to the team will reduce its slim chances of finishing in the points at one of the few Grands Prix this season where it was considered a possibility.
Image via LAT