Mike Stevens | Apr 17, 2009

The Formula One circus rolled into the China this week as teams and drivers continued to absorb the impact of the FIA’s decision to approve the controversial ‘double decker’ diffuser.

With team engineers furiously working away on a solution in Europe, drivers arrived in Shanghai armed with the knowledge that Brawn are likely to dominate once again, with Toyota set to mount the most credible challenge.

But that wasn’t the only news to make headlines around the F1 paddock.

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Red Bull’s Mark Webber believes his team is on track to again challenge for a podium this weekend, following the disappointment of Malaysia.

Webber was denied a probable podium and possible race win by the monsoon-like conditions which saw the race red flagged after 31 laps, but the Australian thinks the form he showed at Sepang bodes well for China.

“We are in a reasonable situation pace wise. We're not right at the front but not going too bad, so we are coming here very optimistic again to try and fight for a podium if we can,” he said.

“It is not easy. Jarno has done a good job so far and Nico (Rosberg) as well with the Williams. So it is tough out there as usual and we will do our best.”

Bridgestone’s decision to select its controversial super-soft rubber as the option tyre for the Grand Prix has many F1 drivers frustrated.

The super soft tyre was basically unusable after 10 laps in Melbourne as drivers struggled to adapt to the difference in performance between it and the regular compound tyre.

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Reacting in his usual restrained style, two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso slammed the decision as ‘ridiculous’.

“I think it is the worst decision they made in a long time, because it is a ridiculous tyre for here, for Shanghai,” he said.

“I don't know if Bridgestone made the decision or the FIA, but they have to reconsider this type of decision because we look ridiculous on television and we look ridiculous for the spectators, and it is a joke to be in front of TV six seconds slower.

“We will need to change the tyres after five or six laps, is our calculation, because this track is harder than Melbourne and there we only did eight or nine laps.”

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Photo by Wenny Wu.

Finally, Toyota’s Jarno Trulli has pledged to raise money to help victims of the earthquake which struck Italy last week.

Trulli hails from the Abruzzo region, owning a vineyard in his native Pescara, and is using his status as a local celebrity to muster support among members of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association.

He said: “Hopefully it will be a good weekend as I have an important reason to get a good result. As you can see on my overall I am wearing a message for my new charity campaign, ‘Abruzzo in the Heart’.

“I want to support the people and to do that I gave up one of my sponsors to give visibility and raise money. I am going to ask GPDA drivers, teams, everyone, to join me. This is not just asking about the money. I am raising money but I want to ask people to donate not just money but items.”

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