Albon to start from Spanish GP pitlane after F1 power unit changes

Alex Albon will start from the pitlane for Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix after taking a new battery and control electronics outside of his allocation for the 2024 season.

The Williams driver qualified 19th on the grid in a difficult session for the Grove squad, in which it locked out the back row as Logan Sargeant logged the slowest time in qualifying.

Albon has since been equipped with a new energy store and control electronics for the race, his third set of each; drivers are permitted to only use two of each throughout the season without taking a penalty.

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The FIA stewards' report read: "The PU elements have been replaced without the approval of the FIA technical delegate, this not being in conformity with Article 40.3 of the 2024 Formula One Sporting Regulations.

"Therefore car number 23 should now be required to start the race from the pit lane according to Article 40.9 of the 2024 Formula One Sporting Regulations."

Although Albon had made it as high as 12th in the Q1 qualifying order, Williams had put the Anglo-Thai on an off-peak run-plan which meant that he was susceptible to drivers improving in the final stage.

albon to start from spanish gp pitlane after f1 power unit changes

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

This ensured that Albon was bumped out at the first hurdle, albeit only a second shy of the Q1 headliner set by Lewis Hamilton.

"It highlights how strong the midfield is now; my car felt good, my balance felt good," Albon said of the close margins among the midfielders.

"I don't think tyre-wise we were in an optimal position. I felt like we underheated the tyres a little bit, so Turn 1, Turn 2, I was struggling a bit with balance. And then after that, I was happy with the lap. But that's what it is now. It's so close out there.

"When I look at last year to this year, we've made a huge step. It really does feel a lot better to drive, but we're obviously still carrying some weight."

This is set to bump Sargeant up a position despite the American driver being handed a three-place grid drop for blocking Lance Stroll in qualifying at Turn 10.

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