Honda Motor Sports have confirmed they are yet to determine the situation of Fernando Alonso’s power unit following his terrifying accident during the Australian Grand Prix.
Alonso’s MP4-31 was returned to Mclaren on Sunday evening following the conclusion of the race and scrutineering . The power unit was immediately removed from the remains of the vehicle and sent to Japan for inspection. The Honda Motor Sports Division are now working to understand the full extent of any damage to the power unit and which elements under FIA regulations can be repaired without incurring any form of penalty.
Honda’s ability to recover the power unit is critical to Mclaren and Alonso. Under current regulations each driver has been allocated 5 power units for the season (an increase from 4 in 2015 owing to the increased number of rounds in the 2016 calender) loosing a power unit after a single event will compromise team strategy for the entire season. The team will be forced to either accept a penalty later in the season or limit Alonso’s running in free practice sessions to extend the life of the remaining power unit Supply.
Regulations do not mandate power unit usage occur in sequence, it will therefore be possible for Honda to introduce a second power unit for the Bahrain Grand Prix in a little over one week from now then revert to the original Power Unit once Honda have confirmed which elements can be recovered.
Mclaren are responsible for gearbox design and construction, the number of which available to a driver over a single season is also limited, the team have not confirmed if the gearbox was damaged beyond repair in the accident.
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