Will Gray

  • Tech talk: The new blown diffuser

    The ban on blown diffusers has resulted in several innovative design approaches to exhaust flow this year — so with four races gone what are the trends and is there a consensus on the right way to go?

    In 2011, the approach to the rear end design was obvious, although not exactly simple. Red Bull led the way in steering their exhaust exits through the floor and into the flow in the rear diffuser, with the aim of increasing the downforce in this area. The exhausts provided an injection of high-energy air and clever engine mapping ensured the exhaust flow was constant whatever the throttle

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  • Tech Talk: Has pit stop tech gone too far?

    Hamilton suffered pit stop woe in BahrainMcLaren's pit stop troubles in Bahrain last Sunday left one of their mechanics distraught after three errors in two races — but is it human error or over-complicated technology that's causing the problems?

    Last year, Mercedes clocked in the fastest stationary stop time at just less than 2.5s and alongside Red Bull they were the standout performers in the pits with less than one hundredth of a second separating average stop speeds of the two teams over the entire season. McLaren was third best, just two tenths of a second slower on average.

    This year, though, things have gone drastically wrong

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  • Gray Matter: F1′s tightening field

    The competition in Formula One has been extremely tight so far this year — but just how much has the field closed up from last year and what trends can be read from the three opening races?

    With two different pole-sitters, three different race winners and three different drivers setting fastest race laps this year, F1 2012 is a far cry from the Vettel domination that the sport saw in 2011.

    Last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix may have been won in style by Nico Rosberg and Mercedes, but behind him the frantic battle for the other points places showed just how close the field has come together.

    The

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  • Tech Talk: Can Mercedes repeat their success?

    Nico Rosberg celebrates in ChinaNico Rosberg took a dominant victory in China as Mercedes hit the sweet spot of tyre management — but after winning with plenty in reserve does it suggest the team is really about to hit the big time?

    Tyre management was key to Rosberg's victory in Shanghai, as it will be key to the entire season of racing, with Pirelli's new rubber appearing to have a narrow working window with some of the front-running cars.

    This operating window is affected significantly by ambient temperature at the circuit and by the resultant track surface temperature.

    In the season-opening race in Melbourne Mercedes

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  • Gray Matter: The Bahrain dilemma

    Formula One has faced pressure from all sides over its decision on racing in Bahrain — but with the event now given the go-ahead what were the key influences and will this be the end to the debate?

    Questions over the future of the Bahrain Grand Prix intensified this week, with one UK MP suggesting Bahrain has not shown itself to be working on genuine and sustainable reform while circuit boss Zayed Al Zayani claimed undue alarm has been raised by people who are not truly in the know.

    This has been an extremely complex conundrum for Formula One, with safety, human rights, finances and politics

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  • Tech Talk: Mercedes’ chance to shine?

    220312mercedes

    It may be just one extra week, but the time between the Malaysian Grand Prix and this weekend's race in China could be just what Mercedes needed to get its 2012 challenge firing on track.

    McLaren has proved the team to beat in the opening two races, clocking up 55 points from a possible total of 86 to head the constructors' championship by 13 points from Red Bull and 20 ahead of Ferrari. In contrast, Mercedes, tipped as potential challengers after pre-season testing, are down in ninth with just one point.

    While results in the early races are very often unsettled as the teams find their feet,

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  • Gray Matter: Raikkonen’s big opportunity

    Kimi Raikkonen has suffered rotten luck so far in his comeback year with Lotus - but there are signs that he and the team could have what it takes to hit the front sooner rather than later...

    Former world champion Raikkonen's return to Formula One merited only a muted fanfare this year, with some eager to see what he could do after his two year 'refreshment' away from the paddock but others feeling he would not have the heart or the will for a strong comeback.

    In Australia, the sight of him dropping out of the first knock-out qualifying session (after he and his team fluffed their plans and

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  • Tech Talk: Taming the new tyres

    A Pirelli technician works on its F1 tyres

    Pirelli describe their new tyres as "some of the fastest and most extreme" they've ever produced — but what changes have been made and what does that mean for this year's racing?

    The return of Pirelli last year was, by most accounts, a big success, with the tyres providing just the right amount of degradation an unpredictability to create interesting racing on almost all occasions.

    But the FIA's decision to outlaw blown diffusers created a whole new scenario, with the resultant reduction in rear downforce meaning more mechanical grip would be required from the rear tyres to keep the cars

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  • Gray Matter: How can Massa recover?

    Felipe Massa: Heading for the door at Ferrari?Felipe Massa is under pressure to save his career at Ferrari after another disappointing start to the season — but where did it all go wrong and how can he recover?

    A friendly and happy soul, Massa arrived fresh-faced in Formula One with Sauber in 2002 and after a few years of grooming he stepped up a grade to join Ferrari.

    That career progression sounds awfully similar to that expected of young Mexican Sergio Perez, who is tipped as Massa's replacement - sooner rather than later if things don't improve soon.

    Massa cancelled a trip back to Brazil this week to head to the Ferrari factory in

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  • Tech Talk: Can Sauber shock again?

    Perez has been linked with Ferrari after his Sepang driveIn a thrilling Malaysian Grand Prix Ferrari took a surprise win, but Sauber sprang the biggest shock with second — so just how did Perez get there and is it a sign of good things to come for the Swiss outfit?

    In the unpredictable wet-dry races that Formula One occasionally throws up, the biggest challenge is being on the right tyre at the right time.

    It may sound simple but the narrow operating windows of the tyres in different conditions make it tough and the way it tends to rain in most wet F1 races — typically in a deluge — makes the call on which way to go extremely difficult.

    The

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