Fernando Alonso and his McLaren-Honda teammate Stoffel Vandoorne are both being forced to the back of the pack to start the Mexican Gran Prix after a major overhaul of the car's engines, according to Autosport. The penalties are big, but are also just par for the course this season for the much maligned Honda-powered cars. Between penalties, slow cars and DNF's have marred the former champion's entire time with the team since Honda returned to F1.
Alonso and his team hope to be more competitive in the upcoming Brazilian and Abu Dhabi races, so they decided to totally overhaul the engines, and thus incur the bulk of the penalties, now since they did not expect to be competitive in Mexico anyway.
Unfortunately I think we'll have to change the engine again, so we will start at the back," Alonso said. "Probably this circuit is not the perfect one for our package anyway, so we expect not to be super competitive here, so maybe it's the best place to take the penalty, and hopefully invest in Brazil and Abu Dhabi with this new engine. Once you start last it's better to start last with all the components fresh, so I guess we'll take a lot of them."
Vandoorne said the engine work was planned for some time and that he hopes this is the last time this year he and Alonso will have to deal with such penalties.
"Hopefully it should be the last." He said. "We knew that this was going to be a difficult weekend for us in terms of performance, and we were always planning to take an engine penalty here to kind of protect the last two weekends, where hopefully we should have more opportunities."
Ending the season on a high note is about all they can hope for after such a disappointing year.
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