• McLaren news

Button faces gearbox grid penalty in Japan

ESPN Staff
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A gearbox problem was discovered on Jenson Button's car after the Singapore Grand Prix © Sutton Images

Jenson Button will have to take a five-place grid penalty at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix due to an unscheduled gearbox change.

Both McLarens will need a new gearbox at Suzuka but Lewis Hamilton is entitled to a free change after a gearbox failure forced him to retire from the Singapore Grand Prix. Technical director Paddy Lowe said his team had discovered same issue in Button's gearbox.

"Jenson's gearbox had the same problem as Lewis's gearbox during the Singapore Grand Prix, and subsequent investigation has revealed a terminal failure," Lowe told 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."

McLaren is going in to the Japanese Grand Prix with high hopes of a good result but the news is a bitter blow for Button's very slender title hopes, as the Briton is currently 75 points off championship leader Fernando Alonso.

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