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Vettel's gearbox given all-clear for Japanese GP

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Vettel's gearbox given all-clear for Japanese GP
By:
Co-author: Roberto Chinchero
Oct 3, 2017, 1:12 PM

Sebastian Vettel looks set to avoid a grid penalty for a new gearbox in Japan this weekend, after analysis at Ferrari’s factory showed his current one was not damaged in his post-race crash with Lance Stroll at Sepang.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari in parc ferme
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H passes the Ferrari pit wall gantry
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari hitches a lift, Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber C36
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H pit stop

Vettel had feared a five-place grid drop for this weekend’s race at Suzuka, after he was involved in a hefty clash with Stroll on the slow down lap of the Malaysian GP.

The impact with the Williams was quite severe and there were doubts that the gearbox could have escaped unscathed. Any change would have resulted in a costly penalty – with no grounds for Ferrari to be granted any exemption because of force majeure.

Ferrari flew Vettel’s gearbox back to its Maranello factory this week for a closer examination and team sources have indicated that it has now been given the all-clear.

The team will therefore fit the gearbox as scheduled on Saturday morning at Suzuka for final free practice, with that hour-long run enough to give confirmation that everything is in order prior to qualifying.

Vettel’s crash after the chequered flag in Malaysia came following a spirited fightback, where he charged from the back of the grid to fourth place.

The German is 34 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton, having endured difficult weekends in Singapore and Malaysia despite having a car that had the potential to win both races.

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