New McLaren juniors’ troubles continue with Imola qualifying disqualification

Henry Valantine
McLaren juniors Alex Dunne and Martinius Stenshorne.

McLaren juniors Alex Dunne and Martinius Stenshorne.

New McLaren junior driver Alex Dunne has been disqualified from Formula 3 qualifying at Imola after a technical infringement on Friday.

The 18-year-old’s car was found to have had rear anti-roll bars mounted on the front of his MP Motorsport car, and was subsequently disqualified from the session.

McLaren junior removed from F3 qualifying in technical breach

Dunne was disqualified under Article 1.4 of the F3 Technical Regulations, which prevent any non-approved modifications being made to the Dallara chassis in the series, though the team had stated that they did not achieve a performance gain from the part being changed.

The 18-year-old Irish driver had been due to start from Sprint pole over the weekend, but will now start both Formula 3 races from the back of the grid due to this technical infringement – with the stewards meeting with MP Motorsport representatives rather than Dunne to decide his fate in this instance.

This news follows the story in which fellow new McLaren junior, Martinius Stenshorne, also 18, was suspended from the upcoming Formula 3 round at Silverstone in July after testing in the rival GB3 Championship round at the circuit without prior approval.

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The FIA decided that Stenshorne would hold an “unfair advantage” by having tested at Silverstone in similar machinery recently, giving him experience of a circuit before most of his rivals would drive it.

Both Dunne and Stenshorne were announced as members of McLaren’s Driver Development programme earlier this week after impressing in their junior careers to date.

Zak Brown had teased their arrival on a recent appearance on Formula 1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, with McLaren’s talent pipeline looking to feed their Formula 1, IndyCar, Formula E and Extreme E teams, alongside their sportscar efforts.

“I’m gonna watch what I say here because I’ve got two drivers on the programme that I can’t remember whether we’ve actually announced or not!” he said.

“So we have a couple of drivers floating around in some of the junior categories that are part of the team.

“It’s great, it’s important, Lando was someone we found young. Oscar, obviously, came out of someone else’s racing academy [Renault/Alpine, – editor] but it just shows that these programmes work.”


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