Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 13,  2005

No rain in Shanghai
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.13) According to local Chinese weather reports, a sunny and probably dry grand prix awaits at the Shanghai circuit.

Although a bit of low cloud and a small chance of rain will exist for all three days of track action, it should stay dry and in the low-20s, they say.

''Although September is the month when Shanghai moves out of its rainy season,'' read Jordan's Chinese preview, ''some showers can still be expected.''

FIA to reveal downforce plan
(GMMF1NET -- Oct.13) F1's governing body will reveal in Shanghai this weekend a plan about how to increase overtaking.

In a Q&A with the British 'Guardian' newspaper, Max Mosley - the FIA president - admitted that making the racing better is more complex than simply reducing downforce and increasing tire grip.

He said: ''Simulations have shown that the reduction in downforce would have to be so great that the cars would be slower than GP2 or formula three.

''But we think we now have the answer to this problem.''

There is considerable speculation as to what the FIA plan to do about the question of aerodynamics, downforce and enhanced racing, particularly as - Suzuka aside - the 2005 changes appear to have made it more difficult for a car to follow and overtake its rival.

The FIA's earlier '90 per cent' downforce reduction plan is now believed to be on the scrapheap, the latest idea being to create downforce parity by imposing 'limits'.

Mosley believes a 'x newton' limit per car would force teams to focus on limiting drag rather than producing downforce.

Big names race out of pitlane
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.13) The checkered flag in Shanghai this Sunday will wave a special and poignant meaning for the entire formula one paddock.

The Sauber, Jordan, Minardi and BAR names - forty per cent of the grid - are set to race away from the sport as a new set of owners blow into F1.

Peter Sauber's exit from motor racing after 36 years, with his Hinwil based privateer team sold to BMW, will be marked by a big dinner in China thrown by a sponsor.

''If I could decide it myself,'' said the quiet and typically politically-neutral Swiss, ''I would keep it low key but it will not be possible.''

Eddie Jordan has long departed the grand prix arena, but Shanghai will mark the last blast for his former team's yellow livery and name, as 'Midland' drives into pitlane.

To honor the last race for Jordan's bright yellow paintjob, new billionaire owner Alex Shnaider will host a 'Farewell Cocktail' in the paddock.

In typical Paul Stoddart style, meanwhile, the always-rebellious team owner - who has sold his little Minardi team to another billionaire - will throw an Aussie barbeque near the formula one pit garages.

''What are they going to do,'' the gruff Stoddart grinned to the Daily Telegraph newspaper when asked what Bernie Ecclestone thought of the break in F1 paddock etiquette, ''ban me?!''

Ralf revels, Trulli topples
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.13) There's been a complete role-reversal within the formula one team Toyota.

While Ralf Schumacher is reveling in the newly debuted 'b' TF105 car, teammate Jarno Trulli is struggling to come to terms with its radically altered handling.

It couldn't be a more opposite scenario than with the initially launched 2005 car.

''I can feel a lot more grip at the front,'' said 30-year-old Ralf, who scored pole at Suzuka, albeit with a light fuel load.

Schumacher said the agonizingly long Safety Car period to remove Juan Pablo Montoya's crashed McLaren 'totally' destroyed his strategy.

Jarno Trulli, meanwhile - a qualifying master - spun off the Suzuka track on Saturday afternoon. Ralf told Motorsport Aktuell: ''It's a lot better than the old one.''

In total contrast to Schumacher's comments, 31-year-old Trulli reckons the TF105B's new front end - to be the front end of the 2006-spec TF106 - is 'too unstable.

''My feeling with the car is a lot different now -- I feel like I have lost all the grip.''

Technical director Mike Gascoyne, however, insists that the B car is 'clearly' faster than the older model. And he thinks Trulli will adapt.

''Well, Jarno has only done one test and one race (with the new car),'' the Briton said. Gascoyne did admit, though, that the TF105B is probably not any quicker than the old car in single-lap qualifying.

Legend doubts Rossi switch
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.13) Australian motorcycle racing legend Mick Doohan has cast doubt on Valentino Rossi's speculated switch to formula one.

Although Rossi - the 26-year-old Italian who matched Doohan's five-title record with his MotoGP exploits in 2005 - has twice tested Michael Schumacher's Ferrari, Mick reckons all the four-wheel switch talk sounds like spin.

''If he feels that's what he wants to do, then good luck to him,'' Doohan told the 'AAP' agency.

''But I've always thought it was a bit of a media beat-up.''

Rossi will arrive in Melbourne on Thursday ahead of the MotoGP race at Phillip Island.

Fiat boss in drug overdose
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.13) Ferrari co-owner Fiat is engulfed in a scandal this week following the drug overdose of 28-year-old brand manager and Gianni Agnelli family member Lapo Elkann.

According to reports, the Italian - although now recovering - was in a coma after overdosing on cocaine, heroin and opium in a 53-year-old transvestite's house.

Elkann will recover, reports say.

His uncle, Edoardo, committed suicide in 2000, while his brother, John, is Fiat vice president.

Ferrari and Fiat president Luca di Montezemolo played down the impact the latest Agnelli scandal would have on Fiat.

''I think it's time to drop the curtain of morbid curiosity,'' the Italian, referring to Lapo Elkann, told the 'AGI' agency, ''on what is a strictly personal event.''

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