The debate over Sebastian Vettel's controversial win at the Malaysian Grand Prix continues...

The debate surrounding Sebastian Vettel’s controversial win at last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix is unlikely to die down anytime soon, with several leading ex-F1 figures – and the sport’s ringmaster – chipping in with their own opinions on the matter.

Vettel's former team principal Gerhard Berger has come out to defend his former driverIn the Vettel camp lies the likes of his former Toro Rosso team principal Gerhard Berger, who has argued that the German’s killer instincts simply overrode his ability to follow the directive to hold station behind teammate Mark Webber in the closing stages of Sunday’s 56-lap race.

“To win a World Championship three or four times, you have to be very selfish,” the Austrian 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 Vettel’s success and nobody – no team-mate, no team chief – will change it.”

John Watson argues that Vettel should be suspended for his actionsMeanwhile, former McLaren driver John Watson has waved his colours on Webber’s side of the debate, arguing that the young German should be suspended by his team for disobeying their directive.

“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 Northern Irishman told BBC Radio 4.

“The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next Grand Prix.

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

When asked about how the pair could possibly work together for the rest of the year, Watson shrugged: “It will be a very fractious relationship.

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

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has laid the blame over the entire fiasco with the team itself, arguing that it is far too early into the season for teams and drivers to be justify such tactics when the Drivers’ Championship remains completely open.

“At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders. It does not matter who it is,” Ecclestone – who was also critical of Mercedes’ instructions to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to hold station in the final laps – told London’s Telegraph newspaper.

Ecclestone has criticised Red Bull Racing for even implementing the team orders“When you are three-quarters of the way through the year, then it’s important. If there is only one guy who could get enough points to win the title, then the other guy should be helping him, for sure.

“Let’s assume that these two guys are in a position to win the championship at the end of the year, then there is no way that Mark is going to help Sebastian,” he added.

So how do you handle a battle between the perceived number-one and number-two drivers? Ecclestone offered one of his own anecdotes from his days running the Brabham F1 Team

“I had one driver challenging for the world championship – I’m not going to say who it was – and the other guy that weekend happened to be bloody quick. I said to him, ‘Whatever you do, you ought to take it easy and let the other guy pass you’. He said, ‘I wouldn’t do that’. So I replied, ‘Well, you can stand up in the seat of the car and wave him past, so the whole world can see this if you want’. But he insisted, ‘I’m not going to do it’.

“So we just made sure he didn’t have enough fuel in the car to finish the race.”

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.