Will Gray

  • Gray Matter: Why Silverstone must learn from struggles

    The London F1 race proposal revealed last week may have been just a bit of fun — but a positive response coupled with the traffic troubles at Silverstone should keep the current British venue on its toes.

    The 'London Grand Prix', which was somewhat bizarrely unveiled as part of a pre-event promotion for Silverstone by the sponsors of the British Grand Prix, was a nice idea but it was only ever going to be a piece of sponsor spin.

    The track revealed would be impossible to pull off — technically the cars would not realistically make it all the way around — and although Bernie Ecclestone said it

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  • Tech Talk: Can Caterham step it up?

    Caterham's technical chief Mike Gascoyne tipped the team to challenge the established runners last season but fell significantly short — so why should we believe they can make the grade this year?

    The team, which was born as Lotus, has been in Formula One for three years and while now firmly positioned as the best of the three new arrivals on the grid in 2010 — comfortably ahead of Virgin (now Marussia) and HRT — they are yet to fulfil their initial target of stepping up to join the midfield runners.

    Their hopes are now pinned on a major two-race mid-season upgrade introduced in Valencia and

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  • Gray Matter: Britain’s building talent bed

    Three home drivers could be in contention for victory at Silverstone this weekend — and with a building bed of talent behind them could the nation be set for another British boom?

    The hopes of a Union Jack hanging over the top step of the podium this weekend rest on the shoulders on McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button and potentially Paul di Resta, if Force India's upgrades and a tendency for their car to run well on fast circuits can propel the Scot to the front.

    The golden British trio represents one of the best home line-ups in years — but all too often a strong home showing has

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  • Tech Talk: Aero efficiency key to Silverstone success

    The high-speed Silverstone circuit puts a premium on aerodynamic efficiency — and that could be the biggest key to conquering this weekend's British Grand Prix.

    The Silverstone circuit has changed numerous times in the last 20 years and evolved into its current specification in 2010. Throughout the years, however, success here has always been about mastering the set-up to cope with fast corners.

    The average speed at the track is high — around 220km/h for a good qualifying lap - but it's not quite like Monza, where fast straights demand ultra-low downforce set-ups. At Silverstone, seven of the

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  • Gray Matter: Can Force India find the sweet spot?

    Force India have been jumped by their rivals this season after making a breakthrough in 2011 — but they are still the most consistent midfield team and a mid-season push could turn things around.

    Force India ended last season on a roll, taking points finishes in nine of the last ten races as they rapidly closed the gap on fifth-paced Renault (now Lotus) to just four points by the season end. Based on that, it was quite reasonable for team chief Vijay Mallya to aim for fifth this year, with the lofty ambition of closing the gap to the 'big four'.

    The Silverstone-based team is lower resourced

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  • Tech Talk: Can design put Red Bull in front?

    It may have ended in disappointment for Sebastian Vettel on Sunday but his upgraded Red Bull car showed impressive pace in Valencia — and it demonstrated the design determination that is key to their success.

    Since the start of the season, Red Bull has been focused on finding a solution to a complex airflow conundrum at the rear of the car after their initial design failed to perform as expected.

    As the team that had developed the most advanced blown diffuser concept they had the most to lose when it was banned this year, but they lost out more than expected at the start of term when other

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  • Gray Matter: Can Hamilton help Button?

    Jenson Button has dropped well off the pace of his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton in recent races — so what's behind his struggles and can teamwork help him recover?

    Button admitted that the Canadian Grand Prix was one of his worst races in recent years after he finished in 16th place, a lap adrift of winning team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The result continued a recent drop in form that has left him eighth in the title race, on little more than half the points collected by his title-leading team-mate.

    After winning the season opener in Australia and finishing second in China in April, Button's

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  • Tech Talk: How green can F1 go?

    When Audi won the Le Mans 24-hour race last weekend in a hybrid powered car there was high praise for their efforts — and with big manufacturer presence on the sportscar grid is Formula One missing a trick?

    The energy efficient element of the R18 e-tron quattro's engine was actually engineered by Formula One, using a hybrid technology design developed by Williams Hybrid Power (WHP) with origins in the F1 team's original flywheel KERS system.

    Formula One pushes 'Hybrid KERS' to play its green credentials card - yet the way it is used does not really reflect the opportunity it can offer.

    As with

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  • Gray Matter: Can Schumacher turn the corner?

    Michael Schumacher suffered another disappointing end to his race in Canada last weekend — but in a tight title battle what's gone wrong for him and is there any way he can get himself back in the mix?

    Last month, seven-times world champion Schumacher claimed pole for the first time since his return to racing but that has been the only real highlight in a disappointing campaign.

    While his team-mate Nico Rosberg has taken pole, won a race and clocked up 67 points in the first seven races, Schumacher has retired five times and has just two points to his name.

    After struggling to find the pace in

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  • Tech Talk: How strategy played out in Canada

    Lewis Hamilton's two-stop strategy secured him his first victory of the season in Canada on Sunday — but the race demonstrated how diverse the strategy options can be in Formula One this season.

    When Hamilton pitted from the lead on lap 50 for a new set of soft tyres, his McLaren team was convinced their rivals — second-placed Fernando Alonso and third-placed Sebastian Vettel — would follow suit and stop again.

    Instead, they stayed out and Hamilton had to push hard to recover, eventually making the most of his fresh rubber to overhaul the drivers in front of him and regain the lead.

    In truth,

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