Will Gray

  • Tech Talk: Taming the new tyres

    A Pirelli technician works on its F1 tyres

    Pirelli describe their new tyres as "some of the fastest and most extreme" they've ever produced — but what changes have been made and what does that mean for this year's racing?

    The return of Pirelli last year was, by most accounts, a big success, with the tyres providing just the right amount of degradation an unpredictability to create interesting racing on almost all occasions.

    But the FIA's decision to outlaw blown diffusers created a whole new scenario, with the resultant reduction in rear downforce meaning more mechanical grip would be required from the rear tyres to keep the cars

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  • Gray Matter: How can Massa recover?

    Felipe Massa: Heading for the door at Ferrari?Felipe Massa is under pressure to save his career at Ferrari after another disappointing start to the season — but where did it all go wrong and how can he recover?

    A friendly and happy soul, Massa arrived fresh-faced in Formula One with Sauber in 2002 and after a few years of grooming he stepped up a grade to join Ferrari.

    That career progression sounds awfully similar to that expected of young Mexican Sergio Perez, who is tipped as Massa's replacement - sooner rather than later if things don't improve soon.

    Massa cancelled a trip back to Brazil this week to head to the Ferrari factory in

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  • Tech Talk: Can Sauber shock again?

    Perez has been linked with Ferrari after his Sepang driveIn a thrilling Malaysian Grand Prix Ferrari took a surprise win, but Sauber sprang the biggest shock with second — so just how did Perez get there and is it a sign of good things to come for the Swiss outfit?

    In the unpredictable wet-dry races that Formula One occasionally throws up, the biggest challenge is being on the right tyre at the right time.

    It may sound simple but the narrow operating windows of the tyres in different conditions make it tough and the way it tends to rain in most wet F1 races — typically in a deluge — makes the call on which way to go extremely difficult.


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  • Gray Matter: FIA right to back Mercedes innovation

    Now that the new Mercedes 'f-duct' system is confirmed legal teams face a costly and time-consuming race to replicate the design — but does this innovation benefit the sport?

    In recent years the start of every season has been clouded by confusion over whether innovative solutions that appear on new cars are positive exploitations of legal loopholes or whether they go against the spirit of the regulations and are a step too far.

    In 2009, the double diffuser proved most controversial with several teams officially protesting the innovation at the season's opening race. The design, introduced by

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  • Tech Talk: Is Red Bull in trouble?

    Red Bull have downforce issuesRed Bull lost out to McLaren in Australia last weekend — and while the champions insist they just had an off day, signs in the data suggest they have actually been hit hard by this year's rule changes.

    McLaren's front-row lock-out in qualifying led to some uncomfortable questions for Red Bull last Saturday, with some journalists suggesting they were down and out before the five red lights had even come on to start the season.

    It's fair to say that Red Bull's fifth and sixth grid positions were not what we have come to expect, but the lap-times tell an even more interesting story.

    First of all,

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  • Team by team previews: McLaren

    Who will step up and become team leader?It's been 13 years since McLaren won a constructors world title — but after their most settled pre-season for a long time could this be the year they finally live up to their potential?

    Red Bull may be the champions but McLaren have laid down the gauntlet and, with a settled team of engineers, a stable driver line-up and what looks to be a strong car, there is serious hope that they can mount a strong challenge this year.

    Testing suggests Red Bull is still the car to beat, but there are several key elements that are different for McLaren this year that could help their hopes of planning an

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  • Team by team previews: Red Bull

    Is there a closer gap to Red Bull this year?It will be tough for Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel to better last year's dominant performance — but with suggestions that their rivals are closing in they could be facing a very different challenge.

    Vettel had one of those incredible seasons in 2011 where everything seemed to slot into place, allowing him to secure an unprecedented 15 pole positions in the 19 races with a total of 11 race wins helping him to cruise to the title.

    In varying measures, his success was down to his pre-planning of how to get the best from the tyres, the struggles of his team-mate Mark Webber and the inability of

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  • Team by team previews: Ferrari

    Ferrari's prospects have been sliding downhill since unveiling their radical new car.14032012Ferrari

    The most radical Ferrari F1 car in recent years was rolled out in the snow last month as the team pushed to make a major step forward in 2012 — but their prospects have been sliding downhill ever since.

    Before the season has even started, new technical chief Pat Fry is under immense pressure to perform after admitting he does not believe he and his team have been able to deliver a car that can get either of its drivers on the podium in Australia.

    Some say it's even worse than that — but comments on the team's current situation range from "a disaster" to "not that bad" depending on who you

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  • Team by team previews: Mercedes

    Mercedes boast a 'dream team' of technical chiefsMercedes stepped into F1 by buying world champion team BrawnGP in 2009, but after two seasons they are still chasing their first victory. Have they finally got what it takes to step up this season?

    Mercedes suffered a big disappointment last year when their W02 machine failed to keep up with the lead pack despite the team having committed more development time to it at the end of 2010 than their rivals had on their cars.

    They had to deal with a serious threat from Renault in the early part of the season and did so strongly in the second half of the year, but after treading water in a distant

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  • Team by team previews: Lotus

    Raikkonen can drive development at LotusThe rebranded Renault team is looking to bounce back strongly from a tough end to the year in 2011 — so with a top-line driver and a car that looks tidy, fast and reliable, what can they hope to achieve?

    The target for 2012 will be to retain fifth place but after some promising testing form (despite a major setback which cost them crucial running) several factors suggest those aspirations could be raised higher.


    Last year, this team was missing a front-line driver after Robert Kubica suffered a rally accident before the season began. The loss of his technical feedback and his driving

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