Will Gray

  • 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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  • Tech Talk: F1′s respect for Head teacher

    Patrick HeadAfter 35 seasons, seven drivers titles, nine constructors' crowns, 113 wins and 126 poles, 65-year-old Patrick Head has quit Williams and left his drawing board for good - but while no longer on the F1 front line his influence will still be seen in the future.

    A straight-talking, no-nonsense character, Head is the son of an army colonel and his corporal-like command of the ranks at Williams were one of the key foundations for the team and he is credited as one of the most influential designers in F1, overseeing three independent glory periods at Williams.

    The first success came soon after he

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  • Gray Matter: Let the battle begin for 2012

    There is plenty in store for Formula One as we head into 2012, with the sport set for some hotly contested battles both on and off the track — so what is there to look out for this season?

    CHASING THE BULL

    Last year's title domination by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing was impressive - but that alone has given some teams hope that they can be caught and passed this year.

    The title-winning team ironed out the early-season glitches with KERS to turn the RB7 into one of the best F1 cars ever built, and with a slick team performance barely missing a beat - at least in Vettel's half of the

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  • Season review: The front-runners, part 2

    Red Bull Racing were utterly dominant in 2011 while McLaren proved the main contenders despite a disastrous car debut.

    McLaren take fight to Red Bull

    RED BULL

    Building on the success of 2010, Red Bull stepped up another level in 2011 with a blown diffuser design that put them ahead of the rest from the off, despite early struggles with KERS.

    The opening race in Australia proved to be the story of their season as Sebastian Vettel, who was the only driver to analyse the new Pirelli tyres in the winter, took pole and controlled the race while Webber struggled with tyre wear and was always just shy of the German's pace.

    As the

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  • Season review: The front-runners, part 1

    As Ferrari faced up to another year just off the pace, Mercedes fought back from a similarly tough start to keep in touch at the tail of the front pack.

    FERRARI

    FerrariFerrari wind up season in Brazil

    If Ferrari thought they might be a contender at the start of 2011, a deficit of 1.5s to Red Bull in the opening qualifying session put them in their place. There were glimmers of hope, but after a frustrating season Alonso's 'I give up' comment late in the year said it all.

    It was soon clear that, despite the best intentions of Felipe Massa, Ferrari's campaign would be a one-horse show as the Brazilian suffered tyre issues and scored

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