Will Gray

  • Summer break report – The top three

    The Formula One season headed into its summer break with
    Sebastian Vettel still firmly in control - but with 11 of the 19 races done,
    who are the winners and losers up and down the grid?

    Since the end of March, when the season finally got
    underway in Australia following the aborted Bahrain Grand Prix, F1 has been to
    four continents and seen four different race winners from three teams with
    plenty of intriguing upsets throughout the field.

    So here's how they've fared and how they should approach
    the next part of the season...


    Red Bull Racing have been the dominant force so far and

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  • Gray Matter: Schumi’s last hurrah?

    Formula One heads to Germany this weekend with the nation's
    new star Sebastian Vettel firmly in the ascendancy and Michael Schumacher gently
    fading - but can the former champion make things happen on home soil?

    The red sea of flags and caps that once filled the stands
    of the German circuits during Schumacher's dominant Ferrari days is long gone,
    but the seven-time world champion's hopes of flooding them with Mercedes silver
    on his comeback have failed and the Red Bull blue of Sebastian Vettel will be
    increasingly visible this weekend.

    Like Schumacher back in the day, Vettel is now the one

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  • Tech Talk: Playing the rain game in Hungary

    It was a complex combination of strategy calls that helped McLaren and Jenson Button master the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend - and it proved how crucial split-second decisions are in Formula One.

    The race involved three key elements - managing a drying track in the opening stint, choosing the right dry tyre strategy in the middle and deciding how to react to the rain shower in the latter stages.

    Starting a race on a slippery track with constantly changing grip levels will always lead to drama, and after some exciting wheel-to-wheel battles on intermediate tyres it was Hamilton and Button

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  • Gray Matter: Why Hamilton’s had it with PR

    Lewis Hamilton spoke out about his over-use as a PR tool before this year's British Grand Prix - so he right that F1's commercial pressures are starting to damage drivers' ability to race?

    In the days between the European and British Grands Prix, Hamilton says he travelled from Valencia to Portugal then to Switzerland for a couple of hours and on to the UK, working all the way. After arriving in Britain, he spent "pretty much the whole time" doing appearances, with little time to concentrate on racing preparations.

    The intense PR schedule led Hamilton to alert McLaren to some strong demands

    Read More »from Gray Matter: Why Hamilton’s had it with PR
  • Gray Matter: How can Renault halt the slide?

    After several years in the wilderness the Renault team threatened
    to break back into the big time this season only to fall back in recent races -
    so what's going on at 'Genii Capital Racing'?

    Things looked promising for the black-and-gold Lotus
    Renault GP team at the start of this year. The completion of Genii Capital's
    take-over (now 100 per cent team owner) looked to cement what had become a successful
    structure and they had strong momentum from a 2010 season that saw them move
    from eighth to fifth in the constructors' championship.

    Their development rate matched their front-running rivals

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  • Tech Talk: How Hamilton won in Germany

    In a frantic German Grand Prix fought between three drivers from three different teams (and not including runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel) it was Lewis Hamilton's day - but how did he do it?

    When Hamilton stepped out of his McLaren after Friday practice he said pole was out of the question but warned: "It's the race where we're able to do the most damage..." His predictions were a little off the mark on Saturday, as he did almost have the pace for pole, but he was certainly right for Sunday.

    Red Bull were rattled by the pace of both McLaren and Ferrari and also by the fact that

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  • Tech Talk: Can a testing return work?

    Formula One teams are tentatively discussing a return to
    in-season testing next year - but with the current cost-cutting focus how will
    it take shape and can it really work?

    Since the ban on in-season testing in 2009, which was
    introduced to reduce costs, cut down on manpower requirements and limit
    non-lucrative 'behind closed doors' running, the last few seasons have seen
    teams frantically trying to test new parts during the Friday of a Grand Prix
    weekend while also trying to work on set-up for the weekend ahead.

    If a new part doesn't work or takes more time to test
    than expected, teams risk

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  • Tech Talk: Making sense of the blown diffuser debacle

    What looked like a simple solution to ban off-throttle blown diffusers turned out to be a nightmare for the FIA at Silverstone - but what went wrong and will the end solution prove satisfactory?

    The legality of off-throttle blowing is down to an interpretation of the rules, as is so often the case in F1's controversial technical situations. There is nothing to suggest it is not acceptable as an integral part of engine operation, but there are interpretations that suggest it is not acceptable when it is done to gain aerodynamic benefit from the increased airflow through the exhaust outlets, as

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  • How will V6 engine format change F1?

    Formula One voted last week to move to smaller turbo powered engines from 2014 - but how will the new designs change the cars and will it make the sport more attractive for manufacturers again?

    Turbo engines were banned in F1 in 1989 and since then a number of differently sized normally aspirated units have been run, first a 3.5-litre, then 3-litre and, since 2006, the standard 2.4-litre V8 design used currently by all engine manufacturers.

    The fixed engine format has proved to be a cost-effective solution, with limited development allowed year on year, and a move to a new formula will come

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  • Gray Matter: Would Hamilton gain by moving?

    One brief chat in the Montreal paddock
    has set tongues wagging about Lewis Hamilton's future in Formula One, but could
    he seriously leave McLaren and what has he got to gain?

    The names Hamilton and McLaren have been
    connected ever since Hamilton, as a cheeky youngster, famously told team boss
    Ron Dennis he wanted to race for the team. That was when he was 10. Three years
    later, he was signed to their young driver programme and the rest is history.

    A meeting with Red Bull boss Christian
    Horner last weekend was taken as an indicator of the level of Hamilton's
    apparent unrest at McLaren - but

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