Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi has become the first driver in 2019 to take an engine-related grid penalty.
The Italian will drop 10 places on the grid for Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix after his team fitted a new control electronics box to his car.
It is Giovinazzi’s third electronics change in four races and drivers are allowed two before being penalised.
The incident highlights a weakness in Ferrari’s electronics system, which has already cost the team a win this year.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was on his way to a dominant maiden victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix when he was hit by a loss of power, which was later traced to a short circuit in the electronics.
As a result, all Ferrari-engined cars – those from the factory team and from customers Haas and Alfa Romeo – have already had to change their electronics boxes this season.
But while Ferrari and Haas took the new-spec unit for the last race in China, Alfa Romeo did not.
Giovinazzi then suffered an identical failure to Leclerc’s in Bahrain during qualifying in Shanghai, but the replacement that was fitted for the Chinese Grand Prix was of the first specification.
He and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen are both taking the new-spec control electronics (CE) for the race in Baku, in the interests of improved reliability.