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Ferrari has gone through a testing period in recent weeks as its leading driver Sebastian Vettel has seen his lead over Lewis Hamilton slip to a 59-point deficit.

This implosion was never going to go down well with the team’s management and they have now drafted in Maria Mendoza from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in a bid to reorganise the quality control department.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne admitted that his team’s failure to pay close enough attention to its quality control has led to this predicament. As a result, technical director Mattia Binotto confirmed that changes were being made to the department.

Vettel’s title hopes are all but over already after a crash in Singapore and engine troubles in Malaysia and Japan. With the gap between him and Hamilton 59 points, it would take a miracle for him to overturn this deficit with just a possible 100 in the offing.

Autosport has learned Mendoza has been called in to organise the reshuffle in the quality control department, and part of Binotto’s changes behind the scenes.

Binotto spoke about this at last week’s Japanese GP. “What we are considering is something, already planned, to improve our quality department.

“Our quality department will be and somehow is already reinforced and those are the changes that our chairman was meaning.”

Mendoza has an enviable track record as head of quality control of the powertrain department for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. She joined the FIAT Group in 2012.

Marchionne had earlier spoken about how a €59 spark plug that forced Vettel’s retirement from the Japanese Grand Prix.

In an interview with Italy’s Class CNBC television channel, Marchionne said, “It was a technical nonsense that had an impact on a car that costs millions of euros.

“It’s a problem we’ve probably ignored over time because it was never of much importance.

“But now we’ve had at least three occasions where we’ve really seen the devastating impact on performance. We’ll fix it.”

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