Although always refusing to write "a shopping list of excuses", Mark Webber has admitted some concern with his racing weight.
The Kolner Express newspaper says there is an 11 kilogram difference between teammate Sebastian Vettel, the 2011 champion elect, and Webber, who has failed to win even a single Grand Prix so far this season.
"It would be great if the team could find a gram here and there (to reduce the weight of the car)," the tall 35-year-old, who weighs 75kg compared with German Vettel's 64kg, said.
Webber is not suggesting that Adrian Newey's RB7 is overweight, but rather that any saved weight could be distributed around the car to improve the handling.
He insists he has lost as much weight as he possibly can.
"I have never been as slim as I am," confirmed Webber. "There is nothing more to find from myself. Maybe a haircut..."
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton admits his weight has also been a concern in recent years.
"When Heikki Kovalainen was my teammate, it was ridiculous!" the Briton reportedly said. "He weighs nothing, maybe 60 kilos. So I thought 'I have to lose weight' but I never managed to get down to him."
New intrigue on eve of Red Bull's 2011 triumph
Even with the 2011 world championship all but over, the intrugue races on.
A few weeks ago at Monza, Mark Webber crashed and Adrian Newey's dominant RB7 was lifted off the track by a crane to the delight of the photographers below.
The photos and videos triggered rumours of an illegal floor, while the front wing went mysteriously missing.
"We only got half of it back. The other half is probably at Maranello," joked Newey, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
More seriously, the report said Red Bull's competitors are once again concerned about the flexibility of the 2011 car's floor, which in the detailed Monza photos showed scratches only in the areas not measured by the FIA scrutineers.
"That would not be legal," said Auto Motor und Sport.
Another bone of contention is Red Bull's expenditure, with rivals including McLaren amazed that the team could arrive at the high speed Monza circuit recently with a totally bespoke package.
"Three sets of wings, engine cover and floors cost EUR 800,000 in production, plus wind tunnel costs. For us it would be impossible to spend so much money on one race," said Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn.
Marko doubts rivals to find 'philosopher's stone'
Dr Helmut Marko is confident Red Bull can stay ahead of the pack in 2012.
Sebastian Vettel will almost certainly wrap up his second consecutive title in Japan this weekend, and so the energy drink-owned team already has firm sights on defending its latest championships next year.
In the paddock, however, there is the hope that Red Bull's dominance will be hit by the 2012 banning of blown exhaust diffusers.
"We will let our competitors believe that it is so," team advisor Marko told Germany's Sport Bild.
"But I ask how - if a car is not competitive - can the philosopher's stone be suddenly found?" added the Austrian.
Marko is therefore not expecting any surprises for 2012, after Red Bull had arguably the fastest car in the field for the past three seasons.
"The fact that having a good foundation one year is a good foundation for the following year has been proved by us for the last three years," he said.
But one weakness in 2011 was KERS, he admitted.
"That's why we have had a taskforce set up for some time now," said Marko, "which has been possible due to the more intense cooperation with Renault. We have developed particularly hard in this area."
Suzuka weather 'lovely' after Wednesday rain
It rained torrentially on Wednesday, but Suzuka looks set to turn on a warm and dry Japanese Grand Prix.
24 hours ago, rivers of rain were washing down the sloping pitlane, rekindling memories of 2010 when torrential conditions forced the rescheduling of qualifying.
"It's raining in Japan," veteran Swiss correspondent Roger Benoit, writing in Blick newspaper, reported from Suzuka late on Wednesday.
"But for the weekend no wet weather is expected - except a champagne shower for Vettel's world championship celebration."
Added O Estado de S.Paulo journalist Livio Oricchio: "I saw on TV that the forecast is good for the weekend - at least that's what I understood from the pictures."
Indeed, Thursday at the Honda-owned venue was described on Twitter by the Mercedes team as "lovely".
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