Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi have each been given five-place grid penalties for the Russian Grand Prix following gearbox changes.

Red Bull’s Albon was set to start the Sochi race from 10th after qualifying but will now drop to 15th on the grid due to the penalty, while Williams driver Latifi falls one place from 19th to 20th.

Under F1’s regulations, teams are required to make each car’s gearbox last six races. Changes are only permitted without penalty if the driver failed to finish at the previous event.

The changes were applied after both teams discovered faults with the respective gearboxes following qualifying on Saturday evening.

"The gearbox has been replaced with the approval of the FIA technical delegate following a written request from the team concerned (requested on 26 September 2020 at 19:25hrs), this being in accordance with Article 34.2 of the 2020 Formula 1 Sporting Regulations," a report from FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer read.

"The gearbox change was before the six consecutive Events expired. Therefore this is not in compliance with Article 23.5a of the 2020 Formula 1 Sporting Regulations and I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration."

Albon had been left “confused” after qualifying a full-second down on Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen – who lines up second alongside polesitter Lewis Hamilton on the front row – with the penalty acting as a fresh blow for his hopes of taking a good result in Russia.

It will mark the Anglo-Thai driver’s lowest starting position of the 2020 season so far.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will now move up one place to start 10th, followed by AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and the lead Williams of George Russell.

 

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