MCLAREN AT THE BACK, AGAIN Fernando Alonso (Above) and Jenson Button have accumulated more than 100 grid place penalties between them. Image: AFP / Greg Baker
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium - McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button collected more meaningless starting grid penalties at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday (August 22), taking their total tally to a drop of 105 places between the pair of them.
Spaniard Alonso, who was handed a 30 place demotion on Friday (August 21) for a raft of power unit changes, was given a further 25 place penalty for yet another series of modifications.
Button, added another 25 places to the 25 he picked up on Friday for the same reasons.
The penalties are meaningless because the rules were changed in July 2014 so that the maximum sanction is to go to the back of the grid - which has only 20 slots - rather than carrying time penalties into the race.
McLaren, who has had a nightmare season with new partner Honda, had been expected to exploit the rule and carry out multiple engine swaps to give them more power units to play with at future races without sanction.
McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale told Sky TV: "We ran two new engines yesterday, to put new engines in the pool, and then we changed the engines last night because we knew we were going to take a penalty. Under the existing regulations we're entitled to take another two (units) and get them in the pool, so if we're going to take some pain then we'll take it here rather than have some further problems down the line.
"I'm not suggesting we're completely out of the woods, but (it works) in terms of a strategy to get more engines in the pool to give us a clearer run."
Button qualified 17th for Sunday's race while Alonso was 18th fastest.
Toro Rosso's Belgian-born Dutch driver Max Verstappen faces a drop of 10 grid positions for exceeding his allocation of internal combustion engines.
Lotus's French driver Romain Grosjean will also drop five places for an unscheduled gearbox change before it had been used for six successive events.