Ferrari has explained Sebastian Vettel’s retirement in the Japanese Grand Prix was caused by a faulty spark plug on a cylinder in his engine.

Vettel suffered his second DNF in three races, while it was his second major mechanical problem in consecutive races, which has left him with a 59-point deficit to Lewis Hamilton after he claimed victory at Suzuka.

After an inlet manifold failure on the compressor to the cylinder heads prematurely ended Vettel’s qualifying in Malaysia which forced him to start last – with team-mate Raikkonen suffering an identical issue on his sighting lap to the grid in Sepang which caused his DNS – Ferrari says a spark plug was to blame for the German driver’s costly retirement in Japan.

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“From the outset, Sebastian Vettel was robbed of any chance to fight for the win, when a spark plug on one cylinder failed,” Ferrari has confirmed. “However, Kimi’s performance proved that the team and the car are capable of getting the job done and until the maths says it’s over, we will keep trying.

“The number 5 car was called back into the pits and the mechanics tried to fix the problem. However, a few minutes later Seb climbed out of the cockpit. A spark plug was broken and it was pointless to go on.”

It is unclear if the two problems in Malaysia and Japan are related, with Ferrari expected to run an analysis back in Maranello before the next race, but it continues a disastrous run for Ferrari having lost the points lead to Hamilton at its home race at Monza before seeing both Vettel and Raikkonen crash out on lap one in Singapore which has been followed by the mechanical issues in Malaysia and Japan.

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Was it Christian Horner that said that todays F1 car engines did not have a lot to do with todays cars. I hope he is right, when a whole garage of the best Ferrari mechanics there is, have to retire a car due to a faulty spark plug.

Whatever caused the spark plug to fail is the real problem!?!?

Piston hit it?

Yeah, I had that happen on my old mini. And it was red.

you dont know your minis very well!  impossible for a piston to hit the spark plug !

There's always someone ready to act as an atmosphere hoover, when folks are having fun.

You know, there's a lot to be said for Nippon Denso.

I was though disappointed for vettel having to retire,.

 

As, I would rather have seen Fernando get by him first, Still Fernando will be pleased ferrari still not delivered a title, so his reasons to move out, seems to be still holding up. 

@SUEDOIS : A faulty sparkplug leaves them roughly 20% down on max power. Not a biggie on your roadcar, and the only thing you'll probably notice is that it is a bit sluggish and sounds a little rough, but in F1 where everything matters, yeah you're basically last better off retiring the car before doing any permanent damage.

 

Sparkplug are funny things. They generally just work and rarely give a problem, but a small hit at the wrong place during transport for instance can cause a tiny fracture in the insulator that will cause it to fail from just the vibrations from the engine in just a few miles.

 

Richard is right though, a piston cannot hit the sparkplug. It can melt if it is the wrong grade for the engine which can cause all kinds of fun stuff inside the engine or it can be destroyed by knocking due to incorrect timings together with the piston, but in itself the sparkplug can never ever hit the piston or the engine will not turn.