An extraordinary 168 grid penalties have been levelled across seven drivers in order to form the final grid for the 2015 Italian Grand Prix, marking another new record for Formula 1.
With McLaren-Honda taking full advantage of a revision in rules in Belgium to enact more than one change to its power units so as to better prepare itself for future events, Red Bull and Toro Rosso have followed suit – along with McLaren again – at Monza.
With the changes described as 'strategic' since neither Renault-powered team is expected to shine on the high-speed circuit, compared with the coming races in Singapore and Japan, Daniel Ricciardo lands 50 positions worth of grid penalties alone after his new engine terminally expired after just five laps in FP3.
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz have 35 penalties of their own, while Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso – who set the erstwhile record with 105 penalties between them in Spa – have 'only' five and ten place drops respectively.
Provisional grid from 15th to 20th after penalties are applied
15. Jenson Button
(5 place grid penalty – original qualifying position 16th
16. Fernando Alonso
(10 place grid penalty – original qualifying position 17th
17. Carlos Sainz
(35 place grid penalty – original qualifying position 13th
18. Daniil Kvyat
(35 place grid penalty – original qualifying position 14th
19. Daniel Ricciardo
(50 place grid penalty – original qualifying position 15th
20. Max Verstappen
(no time set in qualifying)
How it is calculated
As it stands, Max Verstappen is due to start last after his penalty allocation was compounded by him failing to set a time in qualifying. Though allowed to start, the young Dutchman is also being forced to serve a drive-thru penalty in the opening three laps of the race as a penalty for mechanics not fastening the car's engine cover properly, causing it to rip off at Curva Grande.
With the FIA calculating the penalty system by applying them in the order that they are registered, the drivers are then placed on an 'infinite' grid. Essentially, this means Button is considered 21st, Alonso 27th, Sainz 47th, Kvyat 48th and Ricciardo 65th, before they are bunched up again in that order to form positions 15th to 19th.
As a result of this, despite getting penalised from their original 16th and 17th position qualifying positions, Button and Alonso actually start a position higher each.
The final grid penalty to be levied was to Marcus Ericsson, who has been dropped from 10th to 12th as punishment for impeding Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying.
As a somewhat bizarre consequence of this, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi have been promoted to 13th and 14th, marking comfortably Virgin/Marussia/Manor's best ever starting positions since its F1 debut in 2010.
The full final grid will be published at 10.00am