File picture: Vincent Thian / AP.

Suzuka, Japan - Formula One title contender Sebastian Vettel was given some good news on Wednesday after his Ferrari team ruled out a gearbox change that would have incurred a grid penalty at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The German, a four-time world champion, is 34 points behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton with five races remaining, including Sunday's at Suzuka.

The gearbox scare followed a bizarre incident after last Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix when his car was hit from behind by Canadian Lance Stroll's Williams on the post-race slowing down lap.

The impact wrecked the car's rear suspension.

A change of gearbox would have meant a five place grid penalty for a race that Vettel needs to win, but Ferrari gave the all-clear after a factory inspection.

"The gearbox #Seb5 (Vettel) used in #MalaysiaGP is still available," the team said on Twitter (@ScuderiaFerrari).