Belgian GP: McLarens start at back of grid for engine change

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (AP) — The McLaren team has been given a combined 55-place grid penalty for changing the engine ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Two McLaren cars, driven by Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, introduced an upgraded Honda engine at the start of practice Friday. This is McLaren’s seventh engine of the Formula One season, two more than allowed for a new manufacturer.

By using other new components for the engines, McLaren incurred a massive penalty in grid places — a 30-slot drop for Alonso and 25 for Button. They will start from the back of the grid in Sunday’s race.

The untaken grid drops are no longer carried over into upcoming races.

McLaren has been struggling this season and is next-to-last in the constructors’ standings.