Formula 1

Fernando Alonso picks up 35-place penalty ahead of Italian Grand Prix

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McLaren have endured a torrid campaign, to say the least, during this year’s World Championships.

With the 13th round on the horizon, Honda find themselves second from bottom in the standings, only six points ahead of Sauber and 23 adrift of Renault in eighth.

As they prepare for the Italian Grand Prix, which begins this weekend, McLaren have been dealt another blow as star man Fernando Alonso will be handed a 35-place grid penalty for the race in Monza.

The penalty comes after Honda announced an engine upgrade for the Spaniard, using more than the three permitted number of engine parts.

Fully aware that they were to be punished for their actions, McLaren’s aim behind it was to put Alonso in a strong position come the race in Singapore in two weeks' time, consequently affecting his starting position in Italy.

The penalty means that Alonso will begin the Italian GP at the back of the 20-car grid as they embark on the last European race of the campaign.

Ex-Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn expressed his frustration with the rule, claiming that it’s ‘not great sport’ for a racer to start at the back of the grid because of an engine change:

“I hate the fact that we're having to affect the racing because of the technical issues,” Brawn told motorsport.com.

“I know you can say if a car breaks down in a race that's a technical issue and you've affected the race, but I think the fans understand that.

“For a fan to stomach that his hero is on the back of the grid because he had to change the engine, that's not great sport.

"We've got to find a solution to that, either through a different form of penalty or to remove the penalty altogether and just live with the problem that it was trying to fix."

Alonso, whose future at the firm remains unclear, has picked up 10 of Honda’s 11 points this season as he sits in 15th with no wins to his name.

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