Will Gray

  • Gray Matter: Can radical Ferrari still fulfil potential?

    Ferrari have been criticised for their new noseThe new Ferrari appears the most innovative car unveiled this year — but while comments at the first test suggested troubled times for the Italian giants is there a reason to believe they can make it a success?

    The aggressive looking high nose, shapely scooped sidepods, angled exhausts and unique all-pullrod suspension — the first in F1 since Minardi ran a similar layout 11 years ago — all combine to create a Ferrari that pushes the boundaries in many areas.

    On launch, chief designer Nikolas Tombazis insisted: "One thing we can't be accused of is being too tame with the car."

    But that comment

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  • Gray Matter: Where next for F1′s new cars?

    Ferrari have been criticised for their new nose

    The launch of most of this year's F1 cars last week showed there is a lot of development still to come before Melbourne — but where are the key areas of interest and what can we expect next?

    The new crop of F1 cars look eye-catchingly different this year, with ugly stepped noses on all but the McLaren and unpleasant-looking bulges on the sidepods on several of the top contenders.

    The new regulations, which had been played down as evolutionary, seem far from it, with the two main areas of development in the nose and the rear of the sidepods — and it's exciting to see a range of different

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  • Gray Matter: The new boys

    Despite nine seat changes on the grid this year, just two new drivers and two returnee 'rookies' will join the field — so who are they and what can they be expected to achieve?

    Arriving in F1 these days is not easy, with limited track time and few opportunities to experience the machinery before getting stuck into racing.

    The two newcomers have at least had some time in an F1 car, but they and the two returning 'rookies' (he's returning, but we don't count Kimi Raikkonen as a rookie!) will all have their work cut out against challenging team-mates.

    2011 Test Abu Dhabi Red Bull Vergne - 0Jean-Eric Vergne - Newcomer

    Vergne arrives at

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  • McLaren and Hamilton: Why wait?

    Hamilton and Button at the McLaren launchAt the McLaren launch this week the focus was not so much on the new car but on the team’'s world champion drivers – and in particular which Lewis Hamilton will turn up to start the new season.

    McLaren had built up hopes of a ‘radical’ new car for 2012 but from the outside, at least, it appeared more evolution than revolution.

    McLaren insist they have given every single part a complete overhaul so it remains to be seen what is under the skin of the new MP4-27 - remember, secret developments like the f-duct and Red Bull’'s blown diffuser (and McLaren’'s failed octopus exhaust) were not

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  • Tech Talk: Tapping up the 2012 trends

    Caterham nose

    The slow release of images showing the new Caterham F1 challenger last week revealed some noticeable changes for 2012 — so what are the key things to look out for as other teams reveal their cars this week?

    NOSE DROP

    Perhaps the most distinctive visual element to the new Caterham is at the front — with the distinctive and ugly nose treatment.

    Car noses in F1 have risen in the last decade or more as teams try to steer as much clean air as possible under the car to help maximise the downforce generated by the floor.

    The increasing height has led to potential danger for drivers, however, and the

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  • Gray Matter: Why we must wait to see Kimi’s best

    Kimi RaikkonenKimi Raikkonen got back behind the wheel of an F1 car for the first time since 2009 this week — but while it is good to hear positive comments from him and his new Lotus team, is it all a bit too early?

    It's not easy getting back into F1 — as well demonstrated by seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher — but for Raikkonen the terms of his return are rather different.

    Schumacher's comeback was rightly greeted with scepticism, and although he has been well beaten by team-mate Nico Rosberg, his reputation is still only slightly damaged rather than destroyed, because it was generally

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  • Tech Talk: The importance of ride height stability

    The FIA's ban on ride-height stability systems could have interesting consequences for teams that had been developing it for 2012 — but why is ride height such a vital area of aerodynamics?

    The innovative suspension system, initially developed by Lotus, was designed to ensure stable ride heights throughout the lap, much like the aims of the electronic active suspension systems run but subsequently banned in the early 1990s.

    In this case, rather than being electronic inputs that controlled the position of the suspension wishbones and the car body relative to the wheels and the track, it was a

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  • Gray Matter: Can Senna step up with Williams?

    New Williams signing Bruno SennaBruno Senna has spent his career both benefiting and suffering from his famous F1 name - but if you forget the branding and just consider the results, does he have what it takes to finally make it in F1?

    Senna started racing early and was a promising young karter when his famous uncle Ayrton tragically died at Imola in 1994. His family soon stopped him from racing, and he only got back to the track 10 years later.

    In British F3 he had a less than inspiring 10th place championship finish and his second season there was a mixed bag with a lucky escape from a massive crash at Snetterton but five

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  • Tech Talk: The big rule changes for 2012

    After the inaugural year of Pirelli tyres and the increasing use of blown diffusers, two significant technical changes will come in for 2012 — but what are they and how will they affect the racing?

    OFF-THROTTLE BLOWING BAN

    Innovative off-throttle blown diffusers made a radical difference to F1 aerodynamics last year, with teams creating a constant airflow through the engine and using that flow out the exhausts to accelerate air through the diffuser and increase the downforce without the traditional problems of instability when the engine is not on throttle.

    It's a complex system and one that

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  • Gray Matter: What will Williams do next?

    Williams

    Williams face a difficult decision this month as they juggle a number of potential sponsor options having just lost title backer AT&T — and it could be one of the most crucial times in the team's history.

    Last season was Williams' worst since they entered Formula One in 1977, continuing a slow decline that has now seen seven full seasons pass since they last put a driver on the top step of the podium.

    After an inglorious five years with the team, AT&T was removed from all branding as the New Year began, leaving bare logos, web and social media names for the team's public face.

    This year,

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