Formula 1: Ferrari facing gearbox problems ahead of Japanese Grand Prix


Ferrari are hoping to avoid a costly penalty in this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix after the gearbox on Sebastian Vettel's car got damaged in a bizarre incident after the final lap of last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix. Vettel finished that race in fourth position despite having started at the back of the grid, but on the cool-down lap towards the pits his car got hit in the back by Lance Stroll. The crashed damaged the gearbox and if Ferrari replace it with a new one they face another starting grid penalty.

Vettel must use the same gearbox to complete the final five races of the season, otherwise he will be handed a five-place grid drop. Ferrari will assess the state of the gearbox during the first practice session at Suzuka, because they don't want it to go bust during the race either. Sebastian Vettel is now 34 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' championship, while Ferrari are 118 points behind Mercedes in the constructors' championship with five races left in the season.

"I think we have our technical issues under control but this weekend we didn't," Vettel said. "It's a shame both of us had compromised weekends. I don't know if it was the same issue but for sure it's not ideal if you retire one car on Saturday and one on Sunday. There's something that we need to understand. So far we had a pretty good record this year for reliability, for sure you are always on the edge, so I'm not too worried but we need to get on top of the problems that we have."

Sebastian Vettel is 5/2 at Bet365 to win this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.

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