|© AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati
Reliability concerns for McLaren continued with Jenson Button a victim this time after the gearbox in his car needed to be changed ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
The unscheduled replacement of the unit, which regulations state need to last at least five Grands Prix, has handed the British driver a five-place grid drop for the next race at Suzuka.
The issue with the gearbox was the same which forced Lewis Hamilton to retire at the preceding Singapore Grand Prix, although he escapes a penalty as he didn’t finish the race.
Button, who won in Japan last year, is currently 75 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso with his challenge last dented at the Italian GP, when he retired due to a fuel system problem.
The 2009 world champion got his campaign back on track with a podium in Singapore, but after his teammate’s exit from the race, Button called for the reliability alarms to be addressed soon.
“It’s something that we need to sort out because as a team over the race weekends we’re doing a great job and the pace is there with the car,” he had said. “Over the last few races the results we’ve had have been very good but it’s just we can’t seem to do that with both cars. It’s something for sure we need to work on for the rest of the season.”