First there was the lap one, turn one incident in Singapore that ended Ferrari's race. Then mechanical issues in Malaysia ended Raikkonen's race and forced Vettel to start from the back. Not only that but Vettel had a very strange accident after the race ended. Now the Japanese Grand Prix where a spark plug, a freakin spark plug cost Sebastian the race.
Once again Ferrari mechanics were furiously working on one of their cars while it sat on the starting grid. Just a week earlier it was Raikkonen who had the misfortune of pre-race gremlins. In Japan it was Vettel's turn. A fault with or around a spark plug cost Vettel pace and ultamtely force him to retire. The second retirement in three races for the man who led the championship not that long ago.
"We've done an incredible job so far, pity the last two races with reliability issues, but it's like that sometimes. Of course it hurts and we're all disappointed but I think now we need to get back, get some rest and go flat-out for the last four races and see what happens." Vettel said after his race was over.
This is Ferrari struggling to start races let alone finish them. It isn't like we are talking about Sauber here, this is Ferrari. Nobody has been around longer and started more Grand Prix's than Ferrari. They are the Formula 1 gold standard. Vettel held a championship lead and was taking the fight to Hamilton and Mercedes not that long ago. Yet Ferrari has since seen their cars collide on track followed by two races plagued with mechanical issues. What the Hell is going on? How can one team go from the highest of highs to struggling to keep their car together? Now they find themselves at risk of losing the Driver's Championship at the next race in America.
Barring some kind of miracle Ferrari's chase for either Championship is over. Their second place in the Constructor's Championship is fairly secure but Vettel's lead over Bottas is tenuous at best. Right now salvaging second place in the Driver's Championship is Ferrari's only real attainable goal. This is a far cry from a month ago when Vettel was leading the Championship and Ferrari had a good chance at the Constructor's title.