Giovinazzi set for grid penalty after changing gearbox

Antonio Giovinazzi is to drop to the back of the grid in China after Sauber was forced to change his gearbox.

The Italian crashed heavily at the end of Q1, and team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has confirmed to that the team had no choice but to fit a new gearbox, although it was able to keep his race chassis.

Although the FIA has yet to confirm either the penalty or the new grid, Giovinazzi should now drop from 15th to 20th. He will thus gift places to Stoffel Vandoorne, Max Verstappen, Esteban Ocon, Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer.

The last two have already taken five place penalties themselves, after failing to slow sufficiently for yellow flags when Giovinazzi crashed.

All those near the back of the grid could still take the option of starting from the pitlane with a changed set-up. However the indications are that the track will be drying as the race approaches, so there is unlikely to be a benefit from moving towards a wet set-up.