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Jenson Button will be handed a five-place grid penalty ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren has confirmed to GPUpdate.net on Tuesday. This comes as a blow to the driver who won the Suzuka race last year.
In 2011, Japan delivered Button’s first fully dry Grand Prix victory, leading home Fernando Alonso as Sebastian Vettel picked up his second world title in third place. Ahead of this weekend, the 2009 World Champion has suffered exactly the same problem which took Lewis Hamilton out of the lead in Singapore two weekends ago.
“Jenson's gearbox had the same problem as Lewis's gearbox during the Singapore Grand Prix and subsequent investigation has revealed a terminal failure,” Paddy Lowe, McLaren Technical Director, explained to Autosport. “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.”
Since the Marina Bay night race, it has been announced that Button will be partnered by Sergio Pérez next year. The Mexican switches from Sauber as Lewis Hamilton replaces Michael Schumacher at the Mercedes factory team.
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