Alonso to start Austrian GP from pit lane

Image by Steven Tee/LAT

Alonso to start Austrian GP from pit lane

Formula 1

Alonso to start Austrian GP from pit lane


Fernando Alonso will start the Austrian Grand Prix from the pit lane after his McLaren team changed his car’s front wing for one of a different specification.

Once the cars start qualifying, they must remain in that specification under parc ferme conditions until the start of the race. However, Alonso damaged his front wing when running wide in the final sector during Q2 and the team has changed the front wing and a pitot static tube for a different version overnight, which necessitates a pit lane start.

Now unable to take his original position of 13th on the grid, Alonso has also taken the new version of the Renault MGU-K that has been introduced this weekend. As it is his third MGU-K of the season and only two of that component is allowed, Alonso would have received a grid drop but can now take the new part without further penalty.

As well as Alonso’s changes, Honda has taken the opportunity to give Brendon Hartley a complete new power unit after he qualified in 19th place on Saturday. The change — which is of the same specification — would have resulted in Hartley dropping to the back of the grid, but with Alonso now starting from the pit lane the Toro Rosso driver remains in 19th, with Marcus Ericsson moving from 20th to 18th.

The other grid drops after qualifying were a three-place penalty for Sebastian Vettel for impeding Carlos Sainz, dropping the Ferrari driver to sixth, and a five-place gearbox penalty for Charles Leclerc who will now start from 17th.

-Chris Medland