Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel should be suspended - John Watson

Red Bull should suspend Sebastian Vettel for one race as punishment for disobeying team orders in Malaysia, says former McLaren driver John Watson.

Vettel ignored a call to stay behind team-mate Mark Webber and overtook him with 13 laps left to win the race.

"The only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say 'you will stand out one race'," Watson told BBC Radio 4.

"I know that if other drivers in other teams disobeyed a team order they would be suspended or even fired."

Northern Irishman Watson, 66, who won five grands prix and finished third in the 1982 drivers' championship, was reacting to the dramatic conclusion to Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.


"What will people make of Vettel's actions in Malaysia? Was he ruthless? Spoilt? Arrogant? Disingenuous? Insincere? People will come to all those conclusions and more besides.

"Many will conclude that he knew exactly what he was doing - that with his likely biggest title rival, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, out of the race and a long, tough battle ahead, the extra seven points that were on offer for victory rather than second place were too tempting to resist."

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During the race, which Webber led from lap six, three-time world champion Vettel repeatedly asked the Red Bull management to make his team-mate move over for him.

But they ordered him to stay behind Webber, with team principal Christian Horner accusing Vettel of "silly" behaviour.

Vettel, however, maintained his offensive and passed Webber around the outside at Turn Four after their final pit stops.

Watson said Horner's authority had been undermined by Vettel and called on the team boss to take action.

"If Christian Horner doesn't reassert his authority in the team - because he has been totally subjugated by Sebastian Vettel yesterday - then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be," said Watson.

"The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next grand prix.

"You can't take the points away from him and give them to Mark Webber. That's now history and Sebastian has the benefit of those seven additional points.

"You can't really fine him - it is almost irrelevant to fine him - so the only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say 'you will stand out one race'."

Following the race on Sunday, Horner said Red Bull would discuss Vettel's move "behind closed doors".

Mark Webber

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On the question of Horner's authority being undermined, a Red Bull spokeswoman told BBC Sport: "That's for Christian to deal with, with the drivers. He's managed the team successfully for a long time and I'm sure he'll continue to do so."

Watson said Webber's notoriously turbulent relationship with Vettel had "run its course" and predicted difficulties for Red Bull as they try to get the drivers to cooperate over the remainder of the season.

"I think once the blood has cooled down and the team get the two drivers together, Webber will see the season out, but it will be a very fractious relationship," added Watson.

"I don't know what favours Mark Webber can be asked to provide to Sebastian Vettel if that should ever arise in the future. "

Gerhard Berger, who drove for McLaren between 1990 and 1992, said Vettel was showing the ruthless streak that characterises the sport's greatest drivers.

"To win a world championship three or four times, you have to be very selfish," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"These boys have such a big killer instinct. They cannot follow their brain and they just do what their instinct tells them.

"This is part of his his Vettel's success and nobody - no team-mate, no team chief - will change it."

Vettel's victory took him top of the drivers' championship, with 40 points from two races, nine points clear of Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.

The next race of the season is the Chinese Grand Prix on 14 April.

Webber said he would use the break to unwind on his surfboard and mull over his future.

"I think this will be good medicine for me," he said. "But there were a lot of things in my mind in the last 15 laps of the grand prix, to be honest, so whether the medicine is enough we will see."

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber

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