Belgian Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso incurs grid penalty at Spa

Fernando Alonso failed to set a time during first practice
Alonso failed to set a time during first practice

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso will start the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps from the back of the grid because of a penalty for using too many engine parts.

A new engine fitted to the Spaniard's McLaren for first practice on Friday developed a water leak and Honda decided to replace the whole unit.

As that means he will be using a sixth example of all the six constituent parts of the engine, it will incur a 35-place penalty and relegation to the back of the grid.

Alonso, 35, becomes the third driver to land a penalty for using more than the permitted number of engine parts at this race.

World championship leader Lewis Hamilton has already been handed a 30-place penalty for using his sixth turbo and MGU-H in the first session, and is expected to earn another one when a further new engine is fitted for the second session.

Mercedes are taking all the necessary penalties in one go for giving Hamilton the engine parts he needs to finish the season and may yet take a third engine ahead of final practice on Saturday.

And Sauber's Marcus Ericsson will receive a 10-place grid drop for using his sixth turbo. The driver with the highest number of penalties will be the one who starts last on the grid on Sunday, although one of them may choose to start from the pit lane.

The new engine fitted to Alonso's car includes the major development upgrade Honda has introduced for this race.

This includes improvements to the internal combustion engine, turbo and compressor which Honda say should amount to a lap-time improvement of about 0.2 seconds.

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