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Jenson Button facing 25-place grid penalty before F1 Austrian GP

Jenson Button has been hit with a 25-place grid penalty after changing his engine for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg.

This follows the news on Friday that his McLaren team-mate, Fernando Alonso – who is still looking for his first points of the season – was given a 20-place penalty after McLaren changed his engine. So McLaren, who have been struggling all season, will see their drivers demoted 45 places between them, even though there are only 20 cars on the grid.

Button was dropped 15 places in the last race in Canada because of repairs that had to be done following a failure in practice. It is impossible to be demoted further back than 20th on the grid, so Button will also be hit by a time penalty during Sunday’s race.

Button had been resigned to penalties when the 2009 champion spoke to reporters after suffering a “massive” power failure in second Friday practice. “I’m probably going to start at the back,” he said. “And then Sunday, who knows? With penalties, you sort of really need a safety car to bring you back into the game. Hopefully that will be the case and we can race.”

Fernando Alonso drives during practice.

In a further complication for fans struggling to keep up with the engine implications, Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Russian Daniil Kvyat also face 10-place grid drops from wherever they qualify. The situation, at Red Bull’s home circuit, has ratcheted up the criticism of engine partners Renault from the frustrated former champions.


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