Will Gray

  • Gray Matter: What we learned in Austria

    MERCEDES TEAMS SHAPING UP FOR A FIGHT

    Williams proved that they could be the team to tug at the heels of the works Mercedes squad for the rest of the season in Austria – but they may have to fight off Force India in future.

    The Mercedes engines were dominant around the Red Bull Ring, sitting permanently at the top of the speed trap numbers and setting seven of the eight fastest laps in the race.

    Meanwhile, the other engine camps were far from happy as, with the designs now in lockdown and the optimum software settings fast being reached, there is little left to play with in terms of improving

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  • Gray Matter: Why F1 needs to re-invent itself carefully

    Recent calls to re-evaluate the Grand Prix weekend and to discuss the way the sport sells itself are long overdue – but balancing tradition and progress will require a delicate approach.

    Formula One is understandably proud of its heritage, from its long-standing status as the pinnacle of automotive technology to its reputation for glitz and glamour in the paddock.

    Those were the cornerstones that enabled Bernie Ecclestone to establish it as the premium motorsport category and it has remained that way despite re-inventing itself time and again.

    On the technical front, super-fuels, tyre wars,

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  • Four things we learned from Canada

    After an action-packed Canadian Grand Prix which provided an F1 first, we look at the things we learned...

    - - -

    OVERTAKING IS NO LONGER JUST DOWN TO DRIVERS

    An interesting radio message between the Red Bull pit wall and driver Daniel Ricciardo gave a real insight into the strategy that can go into making a successful overtake in 2014.

    The Australian was closing in on third-placed Sergio Perez, aware that if he made a move stick a potential win was in his grasp, and the team asked him: "Daniel, what do you think is the most likely place for a pass. We'll work out the energy."

    A few laps later,

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  • Gray Matter: Why Vettel could be back on track soon

    The turbo issue that put Sebastian Vettel out in Monaco suggests there are still plenty of problems to address at Renault – but a three-way focus on software development is aiming to get them back on track.

    The French manufacture was the first to admit they were behind schedule in preparing for the new regulations in 2014. Their new powerplant was late onto the dyno in development, which left them with not enough time to get everything together before the teams got out on track.

    The new engine regulations put a premium on the integration of the V6 turbo combustion engine and the electrical

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  • Three things we learned from Monaco

    Any idea that the Mercedes dominance could be quashed in the slow-speed streets of Monaco was shattered by another one-two last Sunday – but the race marked several key turning points in the story of 2014...

    MERCEDES BATTLE INTENSIFIES

    There is no doubt the media jumped at the chance to stir up a storm between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Mercedes but with or without that added pressure it was always going to intensify.

    It emerged after the Spanish Grand Prix that Hamilton had used an unauthorised aggressive engine mode to stay ahead - although that was in response to Rosberg doing the

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  • Gray Matter: Can Lotus recover?

    After a turbulent winter and some terrible early season form, Lotus finally got back in the points in Barcelona – but how did they fall from the top and can they go on to complete the ultimate comeback?

    It was a tough winter for Lotus. Kimi Raikkonen, a driver who not only got the best out of the car but also lifted the team’s status, left for Ferrari and painted a bleak picture of team finances on his way out. Then team boss Eric Boullier, an ever-positive leader who helped the team punch above its weight, lost the faith and switched to McLaren.

    And then came the new car launch, and a

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  • Lewis Hamilton is winning the mind games… for now

    The European F1 season began in Spain last weekend and after promise of upgrades to challenge to Mercedes’ dominance there was little to suggest this season will be anything other than a two-horse race...

    So what did we learn in Spain?

    1) HAMILTON IS WINNING THE MIND GAMES – FOR NOW

    In a car so dominant, with two extremely talented drivers fighting for victory, the battle for the title already appears likely to come down to psychology within the Mercedes team – and the atmosphere after the race suggests Lewis Hamilton has Nico Rosberg right where he wants him.

    There was little interaction

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  • Gray Matter: Why it is a crucial month for F1′s future

    Teams have just one month to conclude discussions on some potentially significant changes to the sport for 2015 – but what are the problems and are there solutions that can help F1 build a stronger future?

    After the relatively successful introduction of an all-new technical era this season, F1 is facing up to the fact that it must now reshape the sport itself to maintain relevance and ensure there is a stable platform for survival and growth.

    The big discussion points on the table – spiralling costs, unbalanced revenues and a lack of entertainment - are not new but there is a feeling now that

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  • Gray Matter: Remembering the great Ayrton Senna (1960-1994)

    It’s 20 years today since Ayrton Senna died at Imola but his legend still lives on as the inspiration of the current F1 generation – even though many of the latest drivers cannot remember him alive.

    Senna was an enigma. He was everything a racing driver of his era had to be, but on another level. His natural talent was immense and his concentration, on and off track, was intense.

    The Latin passion was, for the most part, harnessed to perfection, while his deep religious beliefs and his very private approach to public life added a mystery that allowed few to get to know the real man.

    As a

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  • Gray Matter: Why Mercedes are dominating F1

    The last of the opening fly-away races saw the same story of Mercedes dominance repeated once again last weekend – but what other things did we learn in China...?

    MERCEDES DOMINATE ON THE STRAIGHT

    The key factor in Mercedes’ dominant performance was clearer to see than ever in China, with the 1170m run between turns 13 and 14 showing just how well the Mercedes powerplant is working.

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg topped the speed trap table in qualifying, both clocking just over 317km/h, as Mercedes-powered cars filled the top six. In contrast, the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel

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