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Ferrari confirms Vettel engine change, edges closer to penalty

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Sebastian Vettel has moved onto his final permitted Formula 1 engine of the 2017 season after being forced into an early change due to an issue in final practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Drivers are allowed to use four power units through the entire 20-race season, with grid penalties being handed out to those exceeding this limit.

Ferrari had planned to introduce Vettel’s fourth and final power unit at a later date, but was forced to fit it to his SF70H car ahead of qualifying in Malaysia after an issue emerged during final practice.

Vettel slowed while heading down the back straight, nursing his car back to the pits and not returning back out on-track. He ended the session second-fastest behind teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Ferrari confirmed after the session it had been forced to change the engine on Vettel’s car, taking his fourth power unit in order to avoid triggering a penalty.

“Towards the end of the session, there was an electronic malfunction on Seb’s car and the engineers decided to change the internal combustion engine on his car as a precaution,” Ferrari added.

While this change is penalty-free, Vettel’s final power unit will now have to last longer than originally planned, putting him at risk of a grid drop amid his battle for the title with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 5am ET on Saturday.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool