In case it wasn’t already obvious, the complexion of the Formula One season has dramatically altered within the last three Grand Prix races.
The events in Japan, Malaysia and Singapore have allowed Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes extend their respective leads at the top of the driver and constructor standings to an almost unassailable extent.
Sebastian Vettel – who was forced to retire at Suzuka and Marina Bay – is now 59 points off the pace with just four opportunities left to reel in his British rival.
Ferrari have also slipped to 145 points adrift of top spot as Mercedes move within touching distance of their fourth straight title.
While the German leaders deserve their current position, their Italian counterparts have been struck down by incredible misfortune throughout a crucial period of the campaign.
Ferrari haven’t seen both their drivers complete three of the last four events in a series of failures that may well cost them the championship this year.
Whether it’s bad luck or otherwise, engine problems have forced either Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen to retire immediately before or during each race since the Italian Grand Prix.
While Raikkonen managed to cross the finish line largely unscathed in Japan, his teammate’s car was pulled from the track four laps in due a spark plug issue.
The Finn struggled to deliver amid yet another set of unexpected conditions – a feature of their recent form which he says must be rectified to save their season.
“…I don’t know what happened; we have made a lot of improvements over the last few years as a team, but now, for whatever reason, we suddenly seem to have technical issues coming out from nothing,” Raikkonen said, per the official Formula One website.
“It’s kind of weird, our cars are running perfectly and suddenly on Sunday there is a problem that nobody expects.
“There is some work to be done on that side. Then we are going to push until the last lap of the last race and we’ll see where we end up.”
Ferrari have dominated opponents on particular circuits with their superior pace throughout the campaign, which must give them some hope for the remaining events.
Barring further unforeseen complication in Austin, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi, Vettel, Raikkonen and their team can’t be written off just yet.
Can Ferrari come back from their recent setbacks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.