Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne has pointed the finger at its quality parts department for its nightmare run of unreliability which has seen it suffer a near-fatal blow to its Formula 1 world title hopes.

Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire from the Japanese Grand Prix after just four laps due to a broken spark plug which was detected on his sighting lap to the starting grid but was failed to be fixed on the grid.

Vettel’s DNF at Suzuka adds another mark on the latest run of unreliability for Ferrari after both of its drivers were hampered by separate broken inlet manifolds on the compressor to the cylinder heads triggered by defective parts in Malaysia. The issue forced Vettel to effectively miss qualifying and start the Malaysia Grand Prix from last place while Kimi Raikkonen was unable to start the race.

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While Marchionne feels Ferrari needs to remain positive ahead of the final four races of the F1 season he says the mechanical faults have had a “devastating impact on performance”.

"The season is not lost, there's still all to do," Marchionne told Italy's Class CNBC television. "I won't talk of bad luck, I don't believe in it.

“The important thing is to not lose the confidence that has brought us so far. I'm delighted with what the team has done and I have tremendous confidence that in the next four races we will be able to close most of the Mercedes gap.

Having seen consecutive races ruined by part defects Marchionne has reiterated his demand for changing in Ferrari’s structure to resolve the issue.

“It's a problem we've probably ignored over time because it was never of much importance but now we've had at least three occasions where we've really seen the devastating impact on performance. We'll fix it," he said. “Without being arrogant, I think it [the car] is at the same level if not better than Mercedes'.

“I'm sure if we'd not had any problems like in the last three races, we would be having a different discussion.”

Vettel has dropped to 59 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton which means the Mercedes driver can mathematically wrap up the title at the next race at the United States Grand Prix, while Ferrari could also miss out on the constructors’ title in America with Mercedes holding a 145-point advantage in the standings.


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It is an Italian thing: The car would be better or at least the same level, but the problem is it breaks down... But that's not the fault of the factory that produced it.

Presumably they will now abandon NGK and get their plugs elsewhere. Except I bet they won't!

It is all down to luck. mercedes uses the same NGK spark-plugs as FERRARI does. on Sauterday after qualifying on his in lap mercedes number 44 had the exact spark-plug problem FERRARI number 5 had when on his out-lap to the racing grid.

FIA TECHNICAL DELEGATE REPORT: During parc-ferne (Sauterday) mercedes car number 44 had the rear wing assemble replaced. cylinder number 6 spark-plug replaced. left hand side coil-pack replced. 

hey 107SS2009, so it isn't down to luck. Mercedes swapped the parts, Ferrari "due to a broken spark plug which was detected on his sighting lap to the starting grid but was failed to be fixed on the grid" so in other words, they couldn't be bothered! Sounds like a bad culture at Ferrari not bad luck.

But that's ridiculous. Mercedes had the time between end of qualifying and warm up to replace the plug - several hours. Ferrari could hardly send out engineers to the grid and just pop in a new plug. It takes more than just a few seconds to even find an F1 spark plus, let alone replace it. If Vettel had gone into the pits it would probably have been ready just about when Hamilton crossed the finish line. Not quite 'couldn't be bothered'.

Mr. Fill - most consider NGK the best spark plug manufacturer for over three decades, street and track, even utility use small engines. I am not affiliated - just a professional automotive technician, amateur road racer,avid racing fan, and inevitable user and maintainer of mine and my neighbors lawn care equipment.

Perhaps this one didn't get scanned five times.

Actually, I agree with you. I use NGK Iridiums in all my bikes and they are excellent. The point was that Ferrari were not 'ignoring quality parts' in this case. There was a fault with the plug. It may have been badly handled by an engineer or may have been a rogue plug. It was unfortunate that the fault appeared too late to do anything