McLaren still unsure of penalty-free Singapore

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McLaren still unsure of penalty-free Singapore

11 September 2017 – McLaren is still unsure whether Stoffel Vandoorne will need to take on new power unit elements for the Singapore Grand Prix, which would result in a grid penalty.

Vandoorne is already on his sixth Energy Store, seventh Internal Combustion Engine and MGU-K and 10th MGU-H and Turbocharger after an array of reliability issues.

Under current Formula 1 regulations, drivers are allowed to use only four of each of the six elements that make up the power unit before grid penalties are imposed.

A 10-place grid penalty is imposed the first time a fifth element is used, with a five-place drop imposed the first time a fifth of any of the remaining elements is used.

McLaren took sizeable grid penalties with both cars at Monza; Fernando Alonso fitted Honda’s ‘Spec 3.7’ power unit during practice, before reverting to older components, in a bid to maximise his chances at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, while Vandoorne suffered more failures.

Vandoorne lost power in both qualifying and the race, the latter due to a suspected MGU-K issue, and McLaren has yet to “officially confirm” with Honda whether further new parts will be required.

“We’re keen to move on from the last couple of weekends, and focus firmly on the future,” said McLaren chief Eric Boullier, previewing this weekend’s event in the city-state.

“Singapore is one of the best chances of the year in terms of matching our package to the characteristics of this gruelling street circuit.

“We’ve worked hard to try to avoid incurring any penalties which could halt our progress there.

“We hope that following Stoffel’s retirement in Monza we won’t have to use any new power unit elements, although this is yet to be officially confirmed.”

Vandoorne, who has never raced in Singapore, nonetheless feels he is “due some better luck” after the reliability issues endured in Belgium and Italy.

“We’ve had a tough couple of races as a team, but from my side I’ve also been encouraged by the performances we’ve put in across the course of each weekend,” he said.

“In every session we’ve been able to take away positives – even if we haven’t managed to get the cars to the end of the race or finish with a good result.

“I’m pretty sure we’re due some better luck, so I hope in Singapore we’ll be able to maximise the strengths of our package over the whole weekend, and finish the all-important race day on a high.”

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