Will Gray

  • Gray Matter: Should Massa stay in F1?

    Felipe Massa is fighting for his F1 survival after being sidelined by Ferrari – but what are his best options and what can he do to convince teams he is still worthy of a place on the grid?

    Massa is one of the nicest men in Formula One. When I first interviewed him at the 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix he was a fresh-faced youngster preparing for his second race in F1 and was more relaxed than you could ever imagine, given the pressures of performing in his debut season.

    We talked not about Formula One but about football, music and Brazil. It was perhaps a refreshing change from the pounding of

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  • Tech Talk: Why weight will be a big issue in 2014

    Weight has played a key part in the driver market this season - so why are heavy drivers in trouble when the new regulations come in next year and could potential crash diets create a real problem?

    Driver weights on the Grand Prix grid vary by around 14kg, from diminutive Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who weighs in at 64kg, to tall Force India driver Adrian Sutil, who tops out at 78kg.

    Even 78kg is far from heavy, given the amount of muscular strength a driver must have in his neck muscles and arms to be able to perform at the absolute limit over a race distance of up to two hours, but there

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  • Gray Matter: Just how good is ‘Team Vettel’?

    Four titles in four years puts Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull amongst the statistically great F1 partnerships – but how good are they really and can they become the best ever?

    In the modern era, only two other team/driver combinations have really had such continued success – McLaren with Ayrton Senna between 1988 and 1991 and Ferrari with Michael Schumacher between 2000 and 2005.

    The former, of course, saw Senna having to do battle with Alain Prost, first in the same team and then against Ferrari, and while they missed out on one of the four drivers’ titles in that period, the win, podium and

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  • Red Bull seemed to hit another gear as they raced to the title in dominant fashion with six wins from the last six races – but was it just mid-season tyre changes that put them into another dimension?

    Back in May, at the Spanish Grand Prix, Pirelli boss Paul Hembery was criticised for creating tyres that would degrade too quickly and were creating ‘ridiculous’ multiple-stop races.

    Asked if he could consider introducing a more forgiving tyre, he said: "It's pretty clear. If we did that, there would be one team that would benefit and it would be them (Red Bull). I know if we make a change, the

    Read More »from Tech Talk: Did Pirelli’s U-turn on tyres gift Vettel the title?
  • Gray Matter: Why did Red Bull pick Kvyat?

    The promotion of Red Bull rookie Daniil Kvyat to the Toro Rosso seat for next year came as a big surprise – so why was he chosen and was it the right decision for the team?

    Red Bull has a clear strategy in F1, with the lead team now established champions and the Toro Rosso squad serving as the feeder to develop and nurture its young drivers. Beneath F1, there is a long list of Red Bull-backed hopefuls from which they hope the next top talent will develop.

    The idea is to create a continuous chain of champions, with Daniel Ricciardo now stepping up to Red Bull Racing to learn from Sebastian

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  • Gray Matter: The Buddh balance challenge

    The Buddh International circuit is one of the drivers’ favourite new F1 tracks - but the very thing that makes it exciting behind the wheel can also make it tough to overtake.

    The Indian circuit is one of F1’s most recent success stories in terms of design, with some drivers describing its mix of fast flowing curves and long straights as being like a modern version of Belgium’s legendary Spa-Francorchamps.

    It offers a real challenge as it rewards a good rhythm and punishes mistakes – and within the mix there are several corners described by Sebastian Vettel as “rhythm breakers” that if got

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  • Gray Matter: Why F1′s new powerplants could engineer a crisis

    The new 2014 F1 engine regulations will introduce new technologies that will make the sport more relevant to automotive manufacturers – but could it come at the cost of the core independent teams?

    The existing V8 units, which have been running for years, will be replaced next season by small capacity turbo engines coupled with an enhanced KERS unit and complex new turbo energy recovery systems – and it has long been debated whether it was the right move.

    There are just three engine manufacturers who have committed to this new design for its first year – Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari - while

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  • Tech Talk: What are F1’s infrared secrets?

    The new infrared cameras introduced at recent Grands Prix have proved an instant hit with F1 fans – but how do they work and what exactly do they show?

    Teams have been allowed to use their own cameras in Friday practice sessions for some time, but last year Red Bull was the first on record to add infrared on-boards to their armoury of analysis tools.

    They placed a thermographic camera on their engine cover, pointed at the Coanda exhaust exits, with the likely focus on analysing how the hot gas flow and cold air interacted on its way to the all-important diffuser area of the car. The infrared

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  • Tech Talk: Pushing for perfection in Korea

    This weekend’s Korean Grand Prix is not one of the favourites on the F1 calendar – but the Yeongam track is actually a real test of driver and engineer skill and it will reward the team closest to perfection.

    There are many tracks during the Grand Prix season where a driver can lift the level of a poor performing car by his commitment to push to the limit, whether that means changing braking points, cornering techniques or racing lines to make the most of the imperfect situation.

    In Korea, however, that is not the case.

    Yeongam runs anti-clockwise and offers a combination of many different

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  • Gray Matter: F1’s big money race

    Red Bull may be almost out of reach in the constructors' championship but some teams still have a lot to play for – and with big money staked on the season-ending order it could be crucial for 2014.

    Red Bull are now over 100 points clear of Ferrari at the top of the championship with six races to go – and although that means a total of 258 points are up for grabs, current form suggests it is extremely unlikely that they will be caught.

    But behind them, there are two intriguing battles.

    Just seven points separate second-placed Ferrari and third-placed Mercedes while further down the order the

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