The reigning two-time Formula One world champion Max Verstappen has been given a five-place grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.  This would mean that the 25-year-old will not be starting the race at Spa-Francorchamps any higher than sixth place, even if he finishes in first place during the qualifying shootout on Friday.

With this big development, the Dutch-Belgian driver will have no margin for error in his quest to win an eighth successive race victory in Belgium. Although, last year, he did start the race at Spa-Francorchamps in 14th place, after exceeding the power unit elements quota, but still, didn’t deter him from winning the Belgian Grand Prix in 2022.

Also Rea d Belgium Grand Prix 2023: Dates, Schedule, Live Stream and More

Notably, the penalty was imposed on Max Verstappen for Sunday's race, because he used his fifth gearbox unit for 2023, exceeding the limit of four gearbox units this year. The failures began for the multi-time F1 world champion at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix earlier in the season.

The gearbox penalty for the Red Bull driver will not be applied on the Sprint, scheduled to happen on Sunday, which will have the drivers go through qualifying before racing later in the day. The top eight finishers in the Sprint race will be earning highly valuable championship points, with the winner getting eight points and the rest getting one less point per place.

F1 drivers call out the FIA to call off the Belgian Grand Prix weekend if rains become heavy

Moreover, there is a forecast of heavy rains at Spa-Francorchamps during Friday’s qualifying session. This had made the drivers call out the FIA, the governing body of the sport, to be brave enough to call off the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, if conditions become too dangerous to go racing.