Belgian Grand Prix: McLaren given 105-place grid penalty

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer at Spa-Francorchamps
McLaren's Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso finished fifth at the Hungarian Grand Prix with team-mate Jenson Button ninth
Belgian Grand Prix on the BBC
Venue: Spa-Francorchamps Dates: 21-23 August
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McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have been hit with a record penalty of a total of 105 grid positions at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The two drivers have incurred the punishment because of a multitude of changes to their Honda engines.

Alonso has been hit with a total of 55 grid places and Button 50 under Formula 1's complicated engine penalty system.

They will start from the back of the grid with no further in-race penalties after qualifying 17th and 18th.

Paying the penalty
Previous Formula 1 regulations stated that if the size of the grid penalty exceeded the number of places from the position the driver qualified in to the back of the grid, then further time penalties would be applied in the race.
However, this was changed before the Hungarian GP and McLaren are capitalising on the rule change to utilise its new, upgraded power unit knowing that they will only start at the back of the grid.
Lewis Hamilton dominates to claim Spa pole

That is because of a change to the penalty system which previously imposed additional in-race penalties if drivers were unable to serve their full grid drop.

Honda, which has struggled with reliability in its first season back in F1, has produced an upgraded engine for the race.

The Japanese company has made two of the new engines, which have improved combustion performance, available for each driver for the weekend.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso pushes his car after it broke down in qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix
McLaren-Honda have been plagued by reliability problems in 2015

That is to ensure that all the penalties are served at once, giving both drivers effectively a 'free' engine - a clever if slightly cheeky way around the penalty system to increase their pool of race engines for the remainder of the year.

Alonso and Button have already used up their permitted supply of five engines, as well as their total allowed number of replacement parts that make up the complex hybrid power-units used in F1.

Full practice results

Belgian GP coverage details