(Reuters) – Formula One title contender Sebastian Vettel was given some good news on Wednesday after his Ferrari team ruled out a gearbox change that would have incurred a grid penalty at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The German, a four-time world champion, is 34 points behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with five races remaining, including Sunday’s at Suzuka.
The gearbox scare followed a bizarre incident after last Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix when his car was hit from behind by Canadian Lance Stroll’s Williams on the post-race slowing down lap.
The impact wrecked the car’s rear suspension.
A change of gearbox would have meant a five place grid penalty for a race that Vettel needs to win, but Ferrari gave the all-clear after a factory inspection.
“The gearbox #Seb5 (Vettel) used in #MalaysiaGP is still available,” they said on Twitter (@ScuderiaFerrari).
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge)