Button suffers blow ahead of Japan GP

McLaren's Jenson Button won the world championship with the now defunct Brawn team in 2009.

Story highlights

  • Jenson Button to serve five-place grid penalty at the Japanese Grand Prix
  • The McLaren driver punished after a new gearbox had to be fitted to his car
  • F1 rules dictate a driver must use the same gearbox for five races in a row
  • The Japanese Grand Prix takes place at Suzuka on Sunday

McLaren's Jenson Button has been hit with a five-place grid penalty ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix after a new gearbox was fitted to his car.

Post-race checks on the 2009 world champion's MP4-27 car revealed a transmission issue which could not be repaired.

Button's teammate and fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire from the Singapore Grand Prix earlier this month with an identical problem.

Formula One rules state a driver must use the same gearbox for five races in a row or face a grid penalty. Hamilton has avoided any punishment as he did not finish the grand prix.

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The 32-year-old Button has won two races this year, in Australia and Belgium, and sits sixth in the drivers' standings with 119 points.

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The Briton will be paired with a new driver next season, with Mexico's Sergio Perez drafted in from Sauber as a replacement for the departing Hamilton.

    It was announced last week Hamilton would be joining German manufacturer Mercedes on a three-year deal, ending his career-long association with McLaren.

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is the current championship leader, 29 points clear of two-time title winner Sebastian Vettel with just six races remaining.

    Button will be hoping for a repeat of last year's victory at the Suzuka circuit when racing gets underway on Sunday.