Red Bull has elected to “rest” Sebastian Vettel for the Chinese Grand Prix, the team has confirmed.
The seat will be filled by reserve driver, Sebastien Buemi.
This comes after the German defied team orders at Malaysia to overtake Mark Webber for the lead eleven laps from the chequered flag.
The outcome led many to believe that Vettel, in conjunction with Helmut Marko, is the de facto leader of the Milton Keynes outfit.
The decision to suspend the 25-year old is as much about Team Principal Christian Horner reasserting his authority, as it is to punish the three-time World Champion for his actions.
Horner remarked “We needed to let the dust settle on Malaysia. After consulting with Mr. Mateschitz, it was decided that Seb needs a rest to calm down a little, so he won’t be racing at China.”
The Briton said “Sebastien Buemi will take Seb’s car for the weekend. Seb (Buemi) is a great talent, he’s done a superb job in the simulator since he joined us, we feel having a fresh face will benefit the team positively.”
Horner emphaised that Buemi will “enjoy the full backing of the team to fight for victory”, elaborating “as Seb (Vettel) is leading Mark (Webber) in the standings, he’ll (Buemi) have access to the new components and first call on strategy.”
Pressed on whether Buemi’s call up is an audition to replace Webber, perhaps during this season, Horner said “Mark knows his position within the team, this was made clear at Malaysia, if he doesn’t wish to fulfil his role, then we will re-evaluate the situation.”
Buemi made his debut in 2009 for Red Bull’s junior outfit Toro Rosso, where the Swiss remained for three seasons, until he and team-mate Jaime Alguersuari were discarded in favour of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo.