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A different kind of third driver role - Sébastien Buemi steps up to drive the medical car in Singapore

Published by Christine

In safe hands

Back in Singapore, we were all a bit surprised to see that Wurz had taken to the wheel of the FIA Medical Car as the usual pilot was taken ill. It made a lot of sense to choose Wurz, as he is one of the most experienced drivers on the grid, knows when to take things easy, and when to put his foot down. He seemed like an ideal fit.

It appears that the Medical Car's regular driver Jacques Tropenat either has something serious or long-lasting (rumours abound that it's an ear infection), as he is not expected to be back in 2008. This week in Japan and for the final two races, Red Bull reserve driver Sébastien Buemi has been called up to take the role.

It's not clear why Wurz is unavailable to drive this week, after he did a fine job in Singapore. The Medical Car follows the pack on the first lap of a Grand Prix, but Wurz also saw some action when Piquet crashed into the wall. Thankfully, medical assistance wasn't required, although Wurz got them to the scene in style.

Nevertheless, it's Buemi's turn, and it could turn out to be a test for the young driver. He's currently being suggested as one of Toro Rosso's 2009 drivers, and keeping a cool head for the remainder of the season may take him that one step closer to impressing the bosses.

I do wonder why Buemi was chosen, as he seems quite a young chap for such a crucial role. I'm sure he will pull it off with aplomb, but there must be more experienced drivers out there who could take the challenge? I'm also curious how they decide who gets these gigs, who makes the decision, and which driver would get the call if Mayländer went awol?