Date: 2nd October 2012 at 10:56am
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Jenson Button will take a five-place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix after the McLaren team elected to change the Brit’s gearbox.

Following Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from the Singapore Grand Prix following a gearbox failure, the McLaren team have investigated the failure and discovered that Jenson Button’s gearbox has also suffered from the same fault.

Having already been hit hard by Hamilton losing a comfortable 25 points in the championship race by the Singapore retirement, McLaren have opted to start both drivers with new gearboxes in Japan.

This receives an instant five-place grid penalty from the FIA.

‘Jenson’s gearbox had the same problem as Lewis’s gearbox during the Singapore Grand Prix, and subsequent investigation has revealed a terminal failure. McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe told Autosport Magazine.

‘Therefore both cars must start the Japanese Grand Prix with new gearboxes, which means that Jenson will receive a five-place penalty.

‘Of course, this is a great disappointment for Jenson and the team. On the positive side, we have understood and completely resolved the issue, allowing both drivers to compete with confidence for podium positions.’


The 2009 Formula One World Champion is already 75 points adrift of championship leader Fernando Alonso and had pretty much already given up hope of battling for the title himself.

But he could still hold an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s dwindling hopes of a second world championship, while McLaren are still battling with Red Bull for the constructors championship, so this penalty is yet another set-back for McLaren following a difficult week.