Motor racing: Ferrari says Sebastian Vettel's gearbox is good for Japan

Formula One title contender Sebastian Vettel is 34 points behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton with five races remaining, including Sunday's race at Suzuka.
Formula One title contender Sebastian Vettel is 34 points behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton with five races remaining, including Sunday's race at Suzuka.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

(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 race 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.