Will Gray

  • Gray Matter: Quality matters

    The current list of Formula One constructors pretty much involves one participant from each important sector of the motor industry — Ferrari are there for the elite sportscar group, BMW cover the quality saloons bracket, Renault represent the European mid-range family cars and Toyota are out there from the Japanese mid-range market.

    Add to that Mercedes as an engine supplier, and despite the loss of Honda there are currently still some healthy major manufacturer names in the sport.

    Look back into the history books, though, and you will find a very different story.
    Sure, Formula One's early

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  • Gray Matter: Crucial time for Lewis

    The world champion's world has come tumbling down this year, with new regulations putting McLaren down the order, trusted mentor Ron Dennis stepping away when he needed him most — and an uncharacteristic mistake in qualifying last weekend ruining his chances when the unique Monaco circuit gave him a rare opportunity to shine.

    The overly-inflated lie-gate scandal and the subsequent political games certainly hit him hard and, although he doesn't show it, the fact he has been lapped by Jenson Button in the last two races must have left him pretty deflated — none more so than in Barcelona, where

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  • Gray Matter: Blurred battle lines

    The current F1 teams have entered the 2010 championship after all — but with their submissions effectively asking the FIA to play by their rules, the discussions are far from over.

    Political games have been played in and around the paddock over the last few weeks but it now seems that FOTA are playing the same 'no-budge' game the FIA played when they laid down the two-tier budget-cap rules suggestion earlier in the year.

    The first hurdle is June 12, by which time the teams have demanded a new Concorde agreement be signed — or they are out. That gives them, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's FOM

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  • Gray Matter: Piquet Jr’s clock ticking

    The Brazilian, son of three-times world champion Nelson, joined Renault at the start of last season after showing promise to match his heritage in the lower formulae — but since he arrived in Formula One he has consistently struggled to perform at the top level.

    His biggest problem is that he has been racing against two-times world champion Fernando Alonso, the man who ended Michael Schumacher's run of domination in 2005, but statistics show the Brazilian has struggled to even come close. So far, he has never beaten Alonso in qualifying or a race and in his first year he averaged 6.5 grid

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  • Gray Matter: Will the new F1 survive?

    Last week F1 was in ruins, facing an inevitable split with the big-spending manufacturers in FOTA going one way and the governing body, the FIA, taking them on in head-to-head competition with a budget-cap concept, a few back-of-the-grid teams and a bunch of eager new outfits.

    That, of course, would never have happened, although few expected things to be resolved so quickly.

    From the buzz in the Silverstone paddock it was clear that most people believed the teams would never go through with the split but with former Jaguar boss turned FIA advisor Tony Purnell scurrying around the motorhomes

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  • Technical Talk: Simulation gains?

    On-track testing, of course, was completely banned this season in a bid to cut costs but there are plenty of means that teams can use to ensure they continue the pace of development throughout the season, from computer simulations to mechanical seven-poster vibrating rigs, all of which ensures Formula One technology does not slow its pace, even when it's supposed to be on holiday.

    In the factories, most teams now have sophisticated simulators that enable them to take the car through a qualifying lap or a full race simulation without turning a wheel, by vibrating up to seven actuators attached

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  • Technical Talk: Are Red Bull ahead?

    German Sebastien Vettel (pictured) raced away to an unflustered victory on Sunday, running one second a lap faster than second-placed Rubens Barrichello on the opening stint then protecting his lead with ease for the rest of the race against frustrated team-mate Mark Webber.

    Red Bull benefited from what was virtually a 'b'-spec car with a new rear wing endplate and a dramatically different front nose making the noticeable visual impact - but their new floor and overall vehicle layout, which saw the rear axles pushed rearwards to provide a greater space for the double rear diffuser, was perhaps

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  • Technical Talk: Staying ahead of the game

    The lack of permitted testing this season has hampered the teams who started off on the back foot in Australia and Brawn's continued domination, with Red Bull waiting in the wings and Williams and Toyota returning to form in Turkey, just goes to show that while it is possible to close the gap it's much harder to overtake.

    We are seven races down this season, with ten to go, and most of the teams have now introduced a variation of the double diffuser — but because of the focus they have had to put on integrating such a significant design change into their cars they are effectively seven races

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  • Technical Talk: Double diffuser developments

    So what difference, if any, did these new designs make?

    The typical place to find the true relative pace of the cars is during qualifying's Q2 session, when all cars are running as light as possible to try to get into the top-10 shoot-out - and ignoring the incomparable race in Monaco - a comparison between the figures from the Spanish and Turkish races make interesting reading.

    Red Bull overcame the hurdle of fitting, testing and optimising the new double diffuser in Monaco, so they expected to hit the ground running in Turkey.

    They had already been up the front even without the double

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  • Technical Talk: Ferrari fallback

    The Italian team suffered their worst start to a season this year - in terms of finishing position - but a quick turnaround has seen them make dramatic improvements, with Kimi Raikkonen narrowly missing out on pole position before taking third on the podium in Monaco as his team-mate Felipe Massa followed him home in fourth.

    Their Monaco form came thanks to the uniquely slow harbour-side track, which neutralised some of the aerodynamic advantage of the teams that have been leading the way so far this year.

    However Ferrari are now confident that they are moving in the right direction and

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