Watson believes Vettel should be suspended
Red Bull must discipline triple world champion says former star
Red Bull team-mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on the podium after the the Malaysian Grand Prix. Photograph: Tim Chong/Reuters
Triple world champion Vettel had been told to hold position behind team-mate Mark Webber after the pair had completed their final pit stops at Sepang. But he overtook the Australian to take the victory, despite team boss Christian Horner telling him over the radio his behaviour was “silly”.
Watson, who raced for the likes of Brabham and McLaren during the 1970s and 80s, believes Vettel’s actions undermined Horner’s authority within the team, and a one-race suspension is needed to put the 25-year-old in his place.
Watson told BBC Radio 4: “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.
“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’.”
Webber and Vettel’s relationship has been particularly fractious since they crashed into each other while disputing the lead of the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix. They also fell out over Vettel being given first call on a new front wing at the British Grand Prix later in the same season.
The tension between the two has lingered ever since, and Watson expects Red Bull to face a real battle getting the pair to work together between now and the end 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,” he added.
“I don’t know what favours Mark Webber can be asked to provide to Sebastian Vettel if that should ever arise in the future.”