Sebastian Vettel escapes F1 gearbox damage after Stroll crash

Sebastian Vettel looks set to avoid a gearbox penalty this weekend, after analysis by Ferrari showed his current one was not damaged in his crash with Lance Stroll in Malaysia

Sebastian Vettel escapes F1 gearbox damage after Stroll crash

Vettel had feared a five-place grid drop for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, after he collided with Stroll on the slow down lap at Sepang.

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 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 prior to some late-race fuel saving that forced him to drop back.

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

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