Stoffel Vandoorne set for 15-place grid penalty in Russia
Stoffel Vandoorne is set to become the first driver this year to face an engine-related grid penalty after McLaren-Honda was forced to fit new parts in Russia.
Vandoorne’s MCL32 was equipped with his fourth MGU-H and Turbocharger of the season prior to the opening practice session at Sochi, but he encountered more problems, continuing McLaren’s troubled start to the campaign.
Vandoorne informed McLaren during the closing stages of FP1 that he had suffered a loss of power, and returned to the garage.
Honda has now confirmed that a suspected MGU-K issue is under investigation and that due to time constraints, Vandoorne’s power unit will be changed, in order to ready the car for the second practice session.
However, due to his car receiving its fifth MGU-H and Turbocharger of the season, it means Vandoorne faces a 15-place grid penalty.
Drivers are hit with a 10-place drop for the first time a fifth part of any of the six power units elements is used, before facing further five-place sanctions when any of the remaining power unit elements are changed for a fifth time.
The process is repeated if a driver needs to take a sixth part of any element, and so on.
The penalties mean Vandoorne is set to start from the back of the grid, with the Belgian having yet to escape Q1 in 2017.
Vandoorne's Energy Store and Control Electronics will remain unchanged.