Will Gray

  • Tech Talk: How Ferrari went wrong in Bahrain

    Ferrari looked impressive in Bahrain. They started off with a one-two in first practice and topped two other sessions, then just missed out in qualifying to Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.

    Alonso was beaming on Saturday afternoon, satisfied that although not on the front row he was in a good position from which to race, with Ferrari’s form traditionally coming good on race day rather than on a single-lap run.

    But then, on Sunday, it all went wrong.

    A clever strategy move put Vettel out on his own after he muscled his way to the front and made his traditional ‘run away

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  • Can Kovalainen cure creaking Caterham?

    Heikki Kovalainen

    It took less than three months for cash-strapped Caterham to re-hire Heikki Kovalainen – but after a tough start to their 2013 campaign can the F1 winner's testing role put them back on the right track?

    At the start of the year, when Kovalainen was still hopeful of retaining his drive, the team's design chief Mike Gascoyne admitted: "We are very much aiming to be a sustainable long term team... that may mean we have to take pay drivers. That's the nature of the game."

    Sure enough, the experienced Finn had to make way for Dutch driver Guido van der Garde, who brought with him vital funding and

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  • Tech Talk: Red Bull’s China gamble

    It all came down to qualifying tyre choice in last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix – but while Red Bull's gamble to not chase pole in favour of a better race strategy failed, how close was it to a masterstroke?

    Pirelli has been pushing the boundaries on tyre choice this season and their decision to provide teams with soft and medium selections from their four options for China presented the biggest challenge yet.

    The early practice sessions soon made it clear that the soft tyre was so extremely sensitive on this particular track surface that it could not be pushed hard for long and would only

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  • Gray Matter: Can passion drive Williams comeback?

    The announcement of Claire Williams as deputy team principal at Williams marks a new era for F1’s family team – but can personal passion help them recover or should Sir Frank have sold when he had the chance?

    In 2005, Frank Williams had a difficult decision to make. He had built his eponymous privateer F1 team up into one of the sport’s most successful outfits and was now fighting at the top with the genuine manufacturer clout of BMW behind him.

    The team had already enjoyed title-winning relationships in the past with Renault and Honda, but this one was different. This time BMW had a stake in

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  • 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.

    When

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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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