Sebastian Vettel’s day at the Japanese Grand Prix went from bad, to very bad, to just give up.
Motorsport.com reports the Ferarri Formula 1 driver was reprimanded by officials when he missed pre-race ceremonies including the playing of the Japanese national anthem. FIA rules dictate that all drivers must attend. This means Vettel has two reprimands on the season. Three reprimands in the same season means a 10 grid place penalty, which would be devastating to Vettel’s championship hopes.
It might be a moot point, however. Vettel’s reason for skipping the anthem is because mechanics were working furiously to repair a spark plug failure. The four-time world champion wanted to stay near the car while they worked, but the mechanics couldn’t get the issue resolved.
Ferrari decided to start the race and resolve the issue by changing engine settings. It didn’t work. Vettel was forced to retire from the race after only 4 laps. He finished 19th and finds himself in 2nd place in the standings behind Lewis Hamilton with only 4 races left.