Will Gray

  • Tech Talk: Launch season’s changed focus


    The days of launching a new car with a circus act or a star-studded rock concert and long gone – so with most teams now focused on simply hitting the track running what’s it take to get it right on roll-out?

    In the big money days of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the money and time spent on lavish and opulent car launch displays was, quite frankly ridiculous (albeit extremely enjoyable for those invited to attend!). Each team tried to outdo the other, with perhaps the most spectacular efforts coming from McLaren, who rolled in the Spice Girls on one occasion, and Jordan, who lowered their

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  • Tech Talk: Can F1 avoid a cash crisis?

    The Marussia team’s decision to drop Timo Glock for commercial reasons this week highlighted the financial challenges some teams are currently facing – but there may be an answer to the potential cash crisis.

    In 2010, F1 lured in three new teams – Lotus (now Caterham), Virgin (now Marussia) and Campos Meta (which became the now defunct HRT) – with a promise of price-capped racing that never happened. Costs have continued to spiral ever since.

    The efforts to introduce a Resource Restriction Agreement were more focused on reeling in extortionate spending from the front-running teams rather than

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  • Tech Talk: Balancing focus in 2013

    Is there a closer gap to Red Bull this year?The intensity of last year’s title run-in and the need to plan for radical change in 2014 is putting intense pressure on F1 design offices this season – but how will resource management affect racing in 2013?

    A typical F1 development programme will see the car conceptualised in around March or April, or even earlier, by a separate team of designers to those who are working on the existing car. Once the outline design is done, that team then carries out a period of detail development before members of the design team working on the existing car move across to start focus on the following year’s

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  • Gray Matter: Will subtle change challenge F1 leaders?

    This year sees another season of relatively stable rule changes in Formula One – but two minor tweaks to the regulations could prove key to making the field even tighter in 2013.

    At the start of last year there was much said about the stable rules making any changes in the F1 order unlikely. After Red Bull dominated 2011, the blown diffuser ban and some different tyres were thought not major enough to put them off their stride.

    Instead, the season started with seven different winners in seven races and Red Bull were suddenly on the back foot because the loss of that blown diffuser advantage

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  • Year in Review: Victorious Vettel

    We are asking all of our experts to give us their picks of 2012. Here Will Gray reviews the year in Formula 1.

    Best race: Brazilian Grand Prix

    So many races stand out this season: the nail-biter in Spain as Pastor Maldonado won for Williams; Fernando Alonso’s victory on home ground from 11th in Valencia; and Kimi Raikkonen’s return to the top in Abu Dhabi. But the title showdown in Brazil had drama for the two title contenders, spins, crashes, comebacks, retirements, rain and a three-way battle for the lead. Not just the race of the season, but one of the best in years.

    Best moment: F1, Texas

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  • Season review: The Frontrunners

    One of the most competitive F1 seasons in recent years saw eight different winners in 20 Grands Prix – so with a combination of speed, luck and reliability the key to success were Red Bull worthy winners?

    At the end of 2011, F1 had a wide spread between the top cars with Red Bull on 650, Ferrari 495, McLaren 375 then Mercedes down at 165 and Lotus (then Renault) on 73.

    Early season form in 2012, however, suggested Mercedes and Lotus and even two others - Williams and Sauber - could be a threat to the front three.

    In the end, it was only Lotus who was able to deliver a consistent enough

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  • Season review: The Midfielders

    Formula One's midfield was an exciting and competitive place to be this year — but in the end early optimism for some was not sustained and inconsistency stopped anyone from stepping up from the 'chasing pack'.

    A win for Williams in Spain and competitive performances from Sauber in China and Canada suggested the potential of an interesting change to the order this season.

    At Grove, much celebration was made of the reunion of Williams and Renault - a formidable combination in the early 1990s — and while the relationship is nowhere near as strong as it is at Red Bull, who are Renault's main

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  • Season review: The Backmarkers

    It was another 'pointless' season for F1's three newest teams - but behind the scenes Marussia, Caterham and even the apparently now defunct HRT still made significant progress during 2012.

    It's incredible that three seasons have gone by since Formula One welcomed three new teams. Each arrived with realistic ambitions of slowly growing and eventually catching the more established teams. But most of those ambitions included getting points by now - and all three are still waiting for that.

    So much drama was taking place at the front of the grid this season that an enthralling battle between the

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  • Vettel’s triple crown

    Sebastian Vettel did exactly what he needed to last weekend in Brazil to take title number three — but what other moments helped the German elevate his status from champion to legend this season?

    Vettel is now in a rare group of F1 super-champions with three world titles, and is one of only three to have taken three in a row. Each success has demonstrated his development as a driver and a person, but this time the fitting 'baton transfer' between him and his countryman, the retiring seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, seemed to mark a coming of age.

    In 2010, Vettel took his first title

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  • Gray Matter: Can Vettel handle the final race pressure?

    Vettel and Alonso

    The pressure is on Sebastian Vettel to finish the job and take the title in this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix — but is he now mature enough to cope with the pressure?

    It's just a race. Another race. That's what Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso will be thinking ahead of the championship showdown in Sao Paolo.

    Yes, it is. In simple numbers, points are worth the same whenever they're won, but clearly when the amount available goes down their relevance seems to rise more and more.

    Now, just 25 are left on offer and it's all in Vettel's hands. At worst, if Alonso wins, all Vettel needs to do

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