Ferrari is confident Sebastian Vettel will not need to take a grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix as it can rotate between his current power unit parts still in use following his mechanical retirement in Russia.

Vettel was forced to stop during the Russian Grand Prix with an MGU-K failure shortly after his pit stop on Lap 28, triggering a Virtual Safety Car period, in which Mercedes profited by pitting both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to gain positions resulting in a 1-2 for the German manufacturer.

Having already used his full allocation of two MGU-K units for this season, Vettel would be hit by a grid penalty for a new element at the next race, but Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the German driver should be able to revert to his previous MGU-K in order to avoid a penalty – with the same theory applying to his control electronics.

“We will see, probably we have lost the power electronics, but we’ve got another one, so we will still use the other one,” Binotto said.

“We got a problem on the power unit, on the hybrid side of the power unit, and we got a loss of insulation on the car. For safety reasons, we called to stop immediately.

“Of course it’s a shame, because 100 metres later was the pit lane, but it was the safest action we could do for Seb.”

Vettel has already exceeded his permitted number of control electronics units this season, after suffering two failures during the German Grand Prix weekend, while he has reached his limit for MGU-K and Energy Store units.

Next year all F1 drivers will be allowed to use a total of three MGU-K units across the season with the race calendar expanding to 22 events.



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