McLaren-Honda ace Fernando Alonso will start Sunday’s Malaysian GP from the rear end of the grid as he fit an upgraded Honda power unit in practice on Friday.
The Spaniard will get to use Honda new spec-engine as a result of the change – one that features a ‘lighter engine block and a re-designed exhaust, which boosts efficiency’ – and its resulted him with 30 positions worth of grid penalties.
Alonso is ‘optimistic’ he can finish with points this weekend in the Malaysian GP – “We’re ready to take the penalty,” he said on Thursday in Sepang. “In Spa, starting last, I was fourth or fifth after many incidents, so you never know.
“We will start the weekend and the race optimistic about the chance of being in the points, and that’s the target for both cars, even if I start last then hopefully we can recover places quite soon.”
“We knew we had a plan from the middle of the season of where to introduce new engines,” he explained.
“I lost one in Australia in the accident, and we were on engine number two in the second race. We had some further problems. So we knew these penalties would come, and one of the best places was Spa because of the conditions of our engines at that point.
“The second best was maybe Malaysia because the weather could play a big factor in the race, and also Japan is the next race, our home grand prix, and we want to arrive there with some safety in terms of reliability.”
Team mate Jenson Button, celebrating his 300th grand prix start this weekend is 19 points adrift in 15th.