Williams has opted to change the engine in the back of Pastor Maldonado's FW35 ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, wary of a repeat of last season's failure
The team reported piston damage as the reason for the change, which will not cost the Venezuelan any places on the grid, having checked the engine over after qualifying. Maldonado failed to set a time in the second phase of Saturday's rain-affected session and will start 16th as a result.
Ironically, the third-year driver was forced out of last season's Malaysian race by a piston-related engine failure. The Venezuelan, who would go on to win the Spanish Grand Prix a couple of months later, was running in tenth spot when smoke appeared from the rear his car, and investigations carried out between the Malaysian and Chinese rounds 'quickly identified it as a piston failure'.
Although Williams can no longer use the offending unit – which was due to be consigned to practice duties after reaching its 'life mileage' at Sepang - in either qualifying or a race for the remainder of the season, Maldonado will not be penalised for the change as he can merely fit another engine from the eight allowed for the year.