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Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Red Bull still legal amid latest flexing saga
  • FIA official told Korea to host GP - report
  • Schumacher says car 'not always same' as Rosberg's
  • McLaren used Button as 'sacrificial lamb' - Horner
  • McLaren duo dropping out of 2010 title contention
  • 'Super' Kobayashi thrilled TV-watching Kubica

Red Bull still legal amid latest flexing saga
(GMM)  The Red Bull flexing wing saga reared its head yet again at Suzuka.

The controversy had died down following the subsiding of the RB6's dominance at recent races, and evidence that new FIA scrutineering tests had lessened the visible bending of the car's front wings.

But at Suzuka, Red Bull's dominance returned, as did video and photos showing the front wings almost touching the track.

So a reporter for the German tabloid Bild am Sonntag ventured into the FIA test garages at the Japanese circuit to observe Joe Bauer checking over the Suzuka-spec RB6.

The reporter witnessed the car lifted into the air on the test stand before 100 kilograms of weight - double the amount of the former tests - was applied to the front wing.

The RB6 passed the test, even though cynics suggest that at high-speed downforce loads, the Red Bull fails the letter of the rules.

Bauer said: "For that (test), we'd have to build a wind tunnel at each track!"

Indeed, if those downforce-like loads were simulated with mere scrutineering weights, the clever Red Bull wing design would likely break.

The RB6 also passed the FIA's more stringent 300kg underbody test at Suzuka.

FIA official told Korea to host GP - report
(GMM)  Spain's leading FIA official has been told the inaugural Korean grand prix will go ahead as scheduled in two weeks.

Charlie Whiting is only inspecting the Yeongam venue on Monday and Tuesday, but it is believed that selected media have essentially been briefed to the effect that nothing will now lead to the cancellation of the October 24 event.

That follows the latest information and photographs to emerge from Korea, showing that the top layer of asphalt is now complete and curing, that curbs and barriers are in place and the basic building infrastructure able to accommodate the teams and media.

Indeed, Spain's AS newspaper said Whiting's inspection early this week is a "mere formality".

"The race is going ahead.  This has been confirmed at Suzuka to the president of the Real Federacion Espanola de Automovilismo, Carlos Gracia," said the report.

Gracia is also a member of the FIA's authoritative World Motor Sport Council.

Schumacher says car 'not always same' as Rosberg's
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has indicated that his inconsistency this season has not been all his fault.

Hot on the heels of reports the German marque has warned Schumacher he could be ousted at the end of 2011, the seven time world champion publicly questioned the machinery put at his disposal since he returned to F1 this year.

"The car worked great this time," said the 41-year-old after a good weekend at Suzuka.

"Unfortunately, I cannot say it has been that way at all the races," he reportedly told German television RTL.

"There have often been problems, especially on my car, in terms of the consistency, that were not always noticed from the outside.

"You only saw that I was slower.

"Both cars have not always been the same," insisted Schumacher, who just before Sunday's Japanese grand prix complained that the F-duct on his car was not working properly at Suzuka.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug responded to Bild newspaper: "I cannot disagree with Michael.  As far as the car is concerned, he is right."

Schumacher's comments also followed a competitive yet frustrating race for the record winner of 91 races, who when stuck behind his teammate Nico Rosberg radioed the pits for assistance.

His engineer Andy Shovlin replied: "There are no team orders, be careful with your maneuvers."

On Germany's other F1 broadcaster Sky, he responded to reports team boss Ross Brawn had openly criticized him in the press.

"He didn't really criticize me," Schumacher answered.  "He pointed out that compared to Nico I am a little bit behind, and he is probably right."

Schumacher added: "I have also criticized myself.  I am still developing, even at 41!"

McLaren used Button as 'sacrificial lamb' - Horner
(GMM)  Red Bull has accused McLaren of using Jenson Button as a "sacrificial lamb" in Sunday's Japanese grand prix.

It could be seen as simply the latest tit-for-tat exchange of hostilities between the British based teams, but Christian Horner's theory would explain Button's very long first stint at Suzuka on the hard tire.

The Red Bull team boss hypothesized that McLaren's plan might have been to have Button out of sequence ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton's rivals - including Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber - to slow them down.

"But then it looked like Hamilton developed a problem and they aborted that strategy for Jenson.  It looked a little bit like he was a sacrificial lamb.  I don't know.

"It just seemed strange," Horner is quoted by the Daily Telegraph.

McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh acknowledged the logic of Horner's theory but said the truth is that Button's race strategy had simply not worked.

"Yes there was," said the Briton when asked if the possibility existed of using Button as a 'blocker' for Hamilton with the unusual strategy.

"If we had left him out there longer ... it is not how we play our game," insisted Whitmarsh.  "Maybe others would but that is not how we go motor racing."

McLaren duo dropping out of 2010 title contention
(GMM)  With three races left to run in 2010, McLaren's title-winning rhetoric has turned a corner.

After Suzuka, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are now 28 and 31 points respectively behind the leader Mark Webber, moving Hamilton to admit that even a winning streak through to November's Abu Dhabi finale might not be enough now.

"Podiums won't do it," he said after a nightmare weekend in Japan, having nursed a second gearbox problem of the event to the checkered flag with an ear infection.

"Wins will get it if the others have problems.  But if Red Bull finish all the races then it's a walkover," added Briton Hamilton.

Button is also downbeat about defending his world championship after Japan.

"If we don't turn up in Korea with some good improvements to get us near the Red Bulls, it is almost impossible," he said.

"I would like to think we don't have to hope Red Bull crash or have reliability issues and we have a car to challenge them.  But when they have the pace they had here, they can cruise it," added Button.

Closer to Webber's lead - and level-pegging with Sebastian Vettel's 14 point deficit - is Fernando Alonso, who remains confident of winning his first title at the wheel of a Ferrari.

"We are convinced that this was the worst track of the remaining races for us," said the Spaniard after finishing third in Japan.

"To be world champion I need one more win and two podiums," Alonso is quoted by La Stampa.

Also smiling after Suzuka is pole sitter and winner Vettel, despite admitting that his Australian teammate is now tantalizingly close to the title.

"His 14 point lead is of course an advantage," he said, referring to Webber.

"If he wins again, it will be difficult for all of us," German Vettel is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

"But anything can still happen."

The 23-year-old's confidence was boosted by the apparent ease with which he won in Japan.

"Without sounding arrogant," he said, "I would say I always had Mark under control.

"I could see him all the time," Vettel told Bild newspaper.  "He was one, two or three seconds behind.  Every time he came a bit closer, I went on the gas a bit more.

"It's looking okay.  If I win the next three races, everything will be fine, so that must be my goal," he said.

'Super' Kobayashi thrilled TV-watching Kubica
(GMM)  Kamui Kobayashi was the hero of Sunday's Japanese grand prix, enhancing his growing reputation as the launcher of kamikaze overtaking moves.

To the delight of his Japanese fans, the Sauber rookie scythed through the field from fourteenth on the grid to seventh at the finish.

"The way he overtook several competitors was absolutely spectacular," said team CEO Monisha Kaltenborn, standing in as team boss in Japan for the absent Peter Sauber.

The 24-year-old launched audacious moves on Adrian Sutil, Rubens Barrichello and Jaime Alguersuari, but teammate Nick Heidfeld was dispensed rather more easily.

"The team asked me not to make any problems for him," the German is quoted by Swiss newspaper Blick.

The paper's veteran correspondent Roger Benoit asked Kobayashi precisely how many overtaking moves he attempted at Suzuka on Sunday.

"I can't remember," he answered.  "I only know that there were crashes all around me at the start, and later I made some contacts with my opponents.

"My car is rather damaged!" he revealed.

Team manager Beat Zehnder explained: "Some deflectors are missing from the car, and the sidepod has a big hole in it.  Also a part of the front wing isn't there any more."

Renault's Robert Kubica retired from the race after five minutes with a missing wheel.

Said the Pole: "What Kamui did with his car was super.  Because I had to watch on television, he saved my day."

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