Palou to receive engine change, will take a grid penalty

Honda has revealed that Alex Palou’s #10 Chip Ganassi Racing entry will require a new engine before tomorrow’s IndyCar race and will therefore be relegated on the grid.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

The outgoing champion qualified fifth for tomorrow’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, the highest placed of the Ganassi cars on the grid at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

However, what HPD describes as “an issue” with Palou’s engine has forced the Ganassi #10 crew into making an change. Since this will be his fifth Honda of the season, he will – according to IndyCar’s rules – incur a grid penalty. On road and street courses this is a six-place hit, while on ovals it's nine places.

A bulletin from IndyCar this morning stated: "IndyCar officials have announced a six-position starting grid penalty for the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing entry for an unapproved engine change following Saturday’s qualifications at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The team was in violation of:

Rule A fifth (5th) Engine is eligible to earn Engine Manufacturer points if a Full Season Entrant has completed the Full Season Entrant Engine Mileage with its first four (4) Engines. Otherwise, a fifth (5th) or more Engine does not earn Engine Manufacturer points and will be considered an Unapproved Engine change-out."

Sliding back to 11th on the grid means that championship contender Marcus Ericsson becomes the highest placed Ganassi driver on the grid in 10th.

Palou has pledged to help his teammates Ericsson and Scott Dixon (13th on the grid) try to claim a 15th championship for the Ganassi team, despite his legal dispute with the squad, and the fact that he intends this to be his last race with CGR before switching to Arrow McLaren SP.

Now sitting in such close proximity to Ericsson and Dixon on the grid, Palou is likely to feel obliged to help them from the start of the race.

Dixon is just 21 points behind Team Penske’s championship leader Will Power, while Ericsson is 39 points back.

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