It may be 'game over' for Sebastian Vettel and the title fight after the Ferrari driver was hit with another disastrous mechanical issue in Suzuka.
Panicked erupted at the outset in the Italian camp on when the Scuderia's mechanics poured over the back of the German's car on the Japanese GP starting grid.
An apparent spark plug issue had everyone scrambling but eventually Vettel started the race and stormed off the grid normally, hot on the heels of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.
But it was a short lived respite as the Ferrari gradually lost pace and dropped back, only to head back to the pits after four laps and call it a day.
Vettel vowed to keep on fighting to the bitter end however.
"Of course it hurts, we're all disappointed," he told Sky F1 after his painful retirement.
"The best is to get back, get some rest and go flat out for the last four races and see what happens.
"We still have a chance this year, it obviously depends what happens today and in the next races. It's not as much in our control as we would like but overall I think the team is on a good way.
"We are improving race by race, I think we've got a lot further than people thought, so there are also some positives.
Ferrari and Vettel's title campaign has literally collapsed in the last few races and F1 may well have into the last few races with the championship done and dusted.