Will Gray

  • Gray Matter: Teamwork key for Lotus

    Lotus' double podium finish at the last race in Bahrain demonstrated the team's potential — so with Barcelona claimed to be their 'perfect track' can the team go one better and win?

    It's looking good for Lotus right now. Victory was in their sights at Bahrain, where they scored their first double podium since 2006; in last week's Mugello test, they topped the times on days two and three; and, according to the team, the next circuit on the calendar, Barcelona, is what their car was made for.

    In the first four races, the E20 machine has proven to be strong on all types of circuit, stable and

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  • Tech Talk: Are Ferrari slowly returning to form?

    Ferrari are just finding their wayLast week's Mugello test marked a significant moment in Ferrari's 2012 campaign — but to save their season it appears that the Italian team have had to go backwards to go forwards.

    Ferrari's F2012 machine was hailed as one of the most radical designs on the grid at its launch, but the concept soon proved to be unpredictable and after the opening races they were quickly forced to go back to the drawing board.

    Despite some impressive damage limitation — including a victory in Malaysia - Fernando Alonso has complained of a car with a very small sweet spot, one that drives well on occasions but

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  • Gray Matter: Is it right to bring back in-season testing?

    Vettel killing time ahead of the Mugello testThis week saw the return of proper in-season F1 testing as teams gathered in Italy for three days of running - but given the way the sport has developed should it really be making a comeback?

    At its height, F1 testing saw teams complete a combined total of more than a third of a million miles in a season. Ferrari, with their array of private test circuits, could jump on track whenever it suited them, while others clubbed together to test all around Europe, with a heavy pre-season programme and an equally busy in-season schedule.

    The test ban introduced in 2009 has cut this drastically but

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  • Tech talk: The new blown diffuser

    The ban on blown diffusers has resulted in several innovative design approaches to exhaust flow this year — so with four races gone what are the trends and is there a consensus on the right way to go?

    In 2011, the approach to the rear end design was obvious, although not exactly simple. Red Bull led the way in steering their exhaust exits through the floor and into the flow in the rear diffuser, with the aim of increasing the downforce in this area. The exhausts provided an injection of high-energy air and clever engine mapping ensured the exhaust flow was constant whatever the throttle

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  • Tech Talk: Has pit stop tech gone too far?

    Hamilton suffered pit stop woe in BahrainMcLaren's pit stop troubles in Bahrain last Sunday left one of their mechanics distraught after three errors in two races — but is it human error or over-complicated technology that's causing the problems?

    Last year, Mercedes clocked in the fastest stationary stop time at just less than 2.5s and alongside Red Bull they were the standout performers in the pits with less than one hundredth of a second separating average stop speeds of the two teams over the entire season. McLaren was third best, just two tenths of a second slower on average.

    This year, though, things have gone drastically wrong

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  • Gray Matter: F1′s tightening field

    The competition in Formula One has been extremely tight so far this year — but just how much has the field closed up from last year and what trends can be read from the three opening races?

    With two different pole-sitters, three different race winners and three different drivers setting fastest race laps this year, F1 2012 is a far cry from the Vettel domination that the sport saw in 2011.

    Last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix may have been won in style by Nico Rosberg and Mercedes, but behind him the frantic battle for the other points places showed just how close the field has come together.

    The

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  • Tech Talk: Can Mercedes repeat their success?

    Nico Rosberg celebrates in ChinaNico Rosberg took a dominant victory in China as Mercedes hit the sweet spot of tyre management — but after winning with plenty in reserve does it suggest the team is really about to hit the big time?

    Tyre management was key to Rosberg's victory in Shanghai, as it will be key to the entire season of racing, with Pirelli's new rubber appearing to have a narrow working window with some of the front-running cars.

    This operating window is affected significantly by ambient temperature at the circuit and by the resultant track surface temperature.

    In the season-opening race in Melbourne Mercedes

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  • Gray Matter: The Bahrain dilemma

    Formula One has faced pressure from all sides over its decision on racing in Bahrain — but with the event now given the go-ahead what were the key influences and will this be the end to the debate?

    Questions over the future of the Bahrain Grand Prix intensified this week, with one UK MP suggesting Bahrain has not shown itself to be working on genuine and sustainable reform while circuit boss Zayed Al Zayani claimed undue alarm has been raised by people who are not truly in the know.

    This has been an extremely complex conundrum for Formula One, with safety, human rights, finances and politics

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  • Tech Talk: Mercedes’ chance to shine?

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    It may be just one extra week, but the time between the Malaysian Grand Prix and this weekend's race in China could be just what Mercedes needed to get its 2012 challenge firing on track.

    McLaren has proved the team to beat in the opening two races, clocking up 55 points from a possible total of 86 to head the constructors' championship by 13 points from Red Bull and 20 ahead of Ferrari. In contrast, Mercedes, tipped as potential challengers after pre-season testing, are down in ninth with just one point.

    While results in the early races are very often unsettled as the teams find their feet,

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  • Gray Matter: Raikkonen’s big opportunity

    Kimi Raikkonen has suffered rotten luck so far in his comeback year with Lotus - but there are signs that he and the team could have what it takes to hit the front sooner rather than later...

    Former world champion Raikkonen's return to Formula One merited only a muted fanfare this year, with some eager to see what he could do after his two year 'refreshment' away from the paddock but others feeling he would not have the heart or the will for a strong comeback.

    In Australia, the sight of him dropping out of the first knock-out qualifying session (after he and his team fluffed their plans and

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