Will Gray

  • Tech Talk: Can F1 pit stops get even quicker?

    The record for the fastest pit stop in Formula One history was broken not once but five times in Malaysia last weekend – but will any team manage to break the two-second mark this season?

    Back in the early 1990s, fast F1 pit stops were timed at around 4.5 seconds. The fastest even closed in on 4.1 seconds – but anything close to halving that would simply have been unimaginable.

    The arrival of mid-race refuelling, which began 1993, put a stop to any focus on reducing times further because the pit stop was limited by fuel flow so there was no need to be lightning quick on tyre changes.


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  • Sadly we are unlikely to ever know just how good Robert Kubica could have become in Formula One – but could he be the first modern F1 driver to really shine on the world rally stage?

    There have been many hopeful mumblings about a return to F1 for Robert Kubica, who was devastatingly injured in a pre-season rally outing just when his stock was rapidly growing.

    Right now, however, those ambitions seem to be still quite some way off. Asked last week for his latest views on the chances of an F1 comeback, he admitted: “I would pay all the money I have to be back in the cockpit of an F1 car, ut at

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  • Tech Talk: Have Pirelli gone too far?

    Their brief was to create tyres that make Formula One more exciting – but in their third season as sole supplier has Pirelli taken things a little too far?

    Pirelli took a gamble when they decided to come into F1. They committed to making tyres that were not as good as the best tyres they could make because that was what F1 decided it needed to spice up the show.

    To the uneducated, Pirelli knew that it would look like their products couldn’t cope with the job but their view was that they would be able to educate everyone watching Formula One about why that was the case.

    Tyre design basically

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  • Tech Talk: Can McLaren fix it?

    Last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix gave McLaren a glimmer of hope that they are at least beginning to understand the issues with their new car.

    But what’s gone wrong? And is there a quick fix?

    McLaren made a risky move by making radical changes to their car for this season, introducing pullrod front suspension, a higher front chassis and more aggressive rear-end bodywork.

    At the launch, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said: "In changing things you inevitably step back, but this car is already quicker than the car we finished last year with...”

    Sure enough, the new MP4-28 hit the ground running in

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  • Gray Matter: Team orders mean nothing at Red Bull now

    The Malaysian Grand Prix was more explosive off track than on with Sebastian Vettel’s personal agenda testing Red Bull’s resolve and Mercedes’ team orders leaving their drivers ashamed and aghast.

    But what are the long-term repercussions from last weekend?

    Much has already been said about Vettel’s controversial decision to pass Mark Webber under team orders. There is no turning back the clock, though, so Red Bull boss Christian Horner now has a tricky problem.

    Vettel, like many of the great champions before him, has a selfish and ruthless streak. In the cockpit it has played out time and

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  • Gray Matter: Success still a long haul for Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton’s new adventure with Mercedes began with a strong performance in Australia - but is it a genuine sign that he could ‘do a Schumacher’ and help turn Mercedes into a front-running force?

    It’s only round one, but Hamilton feels he has already dealt a knock-out blow to some of his critics.

    His self-stated dream, and the reason he moved to Mercedes, is to try to emulate a feat achieved by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher: to turn a struggling giant into a dominant force.

    After receiving some heavy criticism from the media and ex-F1 drivers he was quick to point the

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  • Tech Talk: Tyre trends to decide season

    Kimi Raikkonen's self-declared "easy win" in Australia was all down to tyre strategy – but was last weekend’s Grand Prix truly an indication of what’s to come, or are there more tyre surprises in store?

    In the end it was simple. Two stops beat three in Melbourne on Sunday and only one team at the front had a car and driver combination that could make it work.

    It was all about tyre management in the race rather than out-and-out pace in qualifying – as the results clearly showed: Raikkonen started seventh and finished first; Alonso started fifth and finished second; Vettel started first and

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  • Gray Matter: Season Preview – The Title Challengers, part 2

    The season kicks off with the top three teams all downplaying their chances – but as Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren prepare for battle do any have a surprise up their sleeve?


    The current testing restrictions usually give teams little chance for ‘sandbagging’ to hide true form but the pre-season predictions suggest there is either some poker playing going on or a genuine confusion over who will be the strongest at the front of the field this year.

    McLaren had arguably the fastest car for much of last season but tore it up and

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  • Gray Matter: Season Preview – The Title Challengers, part 1

    Last year Lotus beat Mercedes hands-down in the battle for fourth, and even closed down the leaders.

    But this year there are signs that both teams could have what it takes make it a five-way battle at the front of the grid.

    Lotus had a quiet pre-season, methodically plugging away at the numbers and not setting headline-grabbing times. The most consistent performers through 2012, they need only the smallest step to become regular contenders for victory and feel they have achieved that for this season.

    Mercedes, meanwhile, might have been expected to be midfielders rather than challengers, given

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  • Gray Matter: Season preview – The Midfielders

    In what could be F1’s tightest season for years the midfielders have a big chance to shine – so after glimpses of glory in 2012 can Sauber, Williams or Force India make a more permanent step forward?

    The indication from pre-season testing is that this season’s early races, at least, will be closely fought – much as they were last season – and that means every possibility that one of the midfield teams could catapult up to the front of the grid.

    The important thing for these three, however, is not just to grab a brief moment of glory but to achieve sustained success throughout the season that

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