Will Gray

  • Team by team previews: McLaren

    Who will step up and become team leader?It's been 13 years since McLaren won a constructors world title — but after their most settled pre-season for a long time could this be the year they finally live up to their potential?

    Red Bull may be the champions but McLaren have laid down the gauntlet and, with a settled team of engineers, a stable driver line-up and what looks to be a strong car, there is serious hope that they can mount a strong challenge this year.

    Testing suggests Red Bull is still the car to beat, but there are several key elements that are different for McLaren this year that could help their hopes of planning an

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  • Team by team previews: Red Bull

    Is there a closer gap to Red Bull this year?It will be tough for Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel to better last year's dominant performance — but with suggestions that their rivals are closing in they could be facing a very different challenge.

    Vettel had one of those incredible seasons in 2011 where everything seemed to slot into place, allowing him to secure an unprecedented 15 pole positions in the 19 races with a total of 11 race wins helping him to cruise to the title.

    In varying measures, his success was down to his pre-planning of how to get the best from the tyres, the struggles of his team-mate Mark Webber and the inability of

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  • Team by team previews: Ferrari

    Ferrari's prospects have been sliding downhill since unveiling their radical new car.14032012Ferrari

    The most radical Ferrari F1 car in recent years was rolled out in the snow last month as the team pushed to make a major step forward in 2012 — but their prospects have been sliding downhill ever since.

    Before the season has even started, new technical chief Pat Fry is under immense pressure to perform after admitting he does not believe he and his team have been able to deliver a car that can get either of its drivers on the podium in Australia.

    Some say it's even worse than that — but comments on the team's current situation range from "a disaster" to "not that bad" depending on who you

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  • Team by team previews: Mercedes

    Mercedes boast a 'dream team' of technical chiefsMercedes stepped into F1 by buying world champion team BrawnGP in 2009, but after two seasons they are still chasing their first victory. Have they finally got what it takes to step up this season?

    Mercedes suffered a big disappointment last year when their W02 machine failed to keep up with the lead pack despite the team having committed more development time to it at the end of 2010 than their rivals had on their cars.

    They had to deal with a serious threat from Renault in the early part of the season and did so strongly in the second half of the year, but after treading water in a distant

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  • Team by team previews: Lotus

    Raikkonen can drive development at LotusThe rebranded Renault team is looking to bounce back strongly from a tough end to the year in 2011 — so with a top-line driver and a car that looks tidy, fast and reliable, what can they hope to achieve?

    The target for 2012 will be to retain fifth place but after some promising testing form (despite a major setback which cost them crucial running) several factors suggest those aspirations could be raised higher.

    LINE-UP

    Last year, this team was missing a front-line driver after Robert Kubica suffered a rally accident before the season began. The loss of his technical feedback and his driving

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  • Team by team previews: Marussia

    The team formerly known as Virgin enters a new era as Marussia this year — but it's the same old story as pre-season problems leave them still firmly at the back of the pack.

    After two years attempting to make an F1 car using only computer simulation and design, former technical director Nick Wirth's unique technique was dismissed, along with his consultancy company, in favour of the traditional wind tunnel testing route.

    So now they are following the same design approach as the rest of the grid, how far can the new regime and philosophy take them?

    THE NEW LEADER

    The arrival of extremely

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  • Team by team previews: HRT

    After a turbulent winter of big changes, HRT is another team in transition — and having finished ahead of Virgin last year it will be tough for the Spanish squad to hold onto that spot this time.

    The departure of two key figures - team principal Colin Kolles and technical director Geoff Willis — is a significant loss as both are extremely experienced and Kolles' schooling at Jordan and Midland gave him a real strength in getting the most out of a frugal budget.

    New team principal, former driver Luis Perez Sala, is a rookie taking the reins and he has already admitted that 2012 started with

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  • Team by team previews: Williams

    Will changes at Williams result in success?It's all change at Williams this year — but after a disastrous 2011 in which they posted their worst-ever championship finish will those changes be enough for them to make a quick comeback?

    The team's ninth-place finish in the constructors' championship last year, with just five points, was the low point so far in a now long-running downwards spiral for the former world champions.

    The form of 2003, when they were a championship runners-up with the might of BMW heavily supporting their campaign, are long gone and their name is now only mentioned alongside the likes of McLaren and Ferrari in the

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  • Team by team previews: Sauber

    The Sauber challenger again flatters to deceiveThis is the second successive season that Sauber have set table-topping testing times — but with that likely to have been a glory run again, it looks set to be another season of hard graft for the Swiss minnows.

    Last year's Sauber looked like a dark horse when it fired to the top of the testing times but in Australia it soon became clear that this was a low-fuel run to put their name in the headlines rather than a genuine demonstration of their actual potential.

    This year, the team has had similar testing success and once again it is highly likely the outcome in Australia will follow the

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  • Team by team previews: Force India

    After finishing four points short of fifth last year, Force India have a tough target to beat this season — and even some of the team's top bosses admit it will need to dig deep to step up.

    This is the fifth year the team that began life as Jordan Grand Prix has run as Force India and after a tough time in the early days they have been improving steadily in the last three seasons.

    In 2009, the team had a car that was very strong on fast tracks, allowing them to take pole position and finish second at Spa. In 2010, they found consistency in the slower tracks too, and finished seventh in the

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