Sebastian Vettel will run the old version of the Red Bull exhaust during Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

14132 - Vettel to test old exhaust layout

Having been the dominant team of 2011 Red Bull has been usurped by McLaren this season, with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button ensuring two front-row lockouts so far. Red Bull had looked strong in pre-season testing before bringing its major upgrade to the car on the final two days in Barcelona, and in an attempt to find some more one-lap pace it will revert to its previous specification on Vettel's car.

Vettel told Sky Sports News that it was not a case of the team panicking, just trying to confirm its beliefs to do with the car's characteristics.

"I think overall you need to see that it's not a disaster," Vettel said. "We still have a very good car and in the race it looked very promising. In qualifying we were lacking quite a bit of pace which we haven't entirely understood. So for here we have a lot of parts and a lot of things to see whether the things we think can make a difference actually do make a difference."

Mark Webber added that the car was still likely to be unable to fight for the front row, but that any gains made in qualifying trim would help Red Bull's race pace.

"We would need to do a huge performance upgrade to challenge for pole," Webber said. "But stranger things have happened and we believe that we're doing the right things to improve Saturday's performance and they will definitely roll in to help the Sunday performance as well. So we need to hit the track, we need to see how the car's going to perform; we need to get the gloves off and see what happens on Saturday afternoon."

Team principal Christian Horner revealed the thinking behind the work on Friday.

"We will be conducting some evaluation work between the two cars," Horner is quoted by Autosport. "With testing not allowed during the season, Friday is the best opportunity to do some track testing and we are using the opportunity to look at an earlier iteration of exhaust and a further iteration of what we ran in Malaysia. Obviously we will then look at the data and then draw our own conclusions from there."