Will Gray

  • Technical Talk: Button extra smooth

    After pulling an incredible lap out the bag in qualifying, Button still had plenty to do in the race, but the way he dominated the battle between himself and team-mate Rubens Barrichello when running on super soft tyres in the opening stint showed a talent that could be crucial in what is increasingly looking like an in-team fight for the title.

    Button was baffled on the grid when most teams removed the tyre warmers to show the harder of the two tyre compounds. He said the Brawn team had "not thought twice" about any other strategy — but the only three others joining them on super softs were

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  • Technical Talk: Monaco’s movers

    Brawn has dominated the season so far, taking four wins from the first five races thanks in part, but not in total, to the innovative double diffuser design that they, along with Toyota and Williams, introduced at the start of the season.

    Now that the legality questions over the design are resolved all teams are fast-tracking in new solutions and Red Bull, who have been Brawn's closest competitors without a double diffuser, could well leapfrog the leaders once they get their version of the critical design element integrated into their RB5 machine.

    It has not been as simple for Red Bull as for

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  • Technical Talk: Strategy success

    After getting the jump on Button at the start, Barrichello was left on the team's favoured three-stop strategy while Button was switched to a two-stop to ensure all bases were covered. But at the end of the race, it was the man on the second-choice strategy who took the chequered flag first.

    "I don't know how the hell I lost that race, man," Barrichello said to Button, before pointing out his car was terrible on his third stint. Button retorted: "I didn't think it was going to work when they put me on a two-stopper...I'm excited that I won, but I feel for you, man."

    Barrichello put himself

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  • Technical Talk: KERS kick-start

    There was much talk of the exciting new technology ahead of the season and once the rather inconvenient problems with electronic discharge through mechanics and drivers were solved there seemed to be a general confidence that the concept was worth investing in, for the sake of Formula One and the future of cars on the road.

    But the cost and time of developing the systems, when so many other new rule changes had been introduced for the 2009 season, prevented all but the richest teams from developing KERS systems in time for the start of the season.

    If the standardised KERS solution is voted in,

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  • Technical Talk: Toyota’s sticky strategy

    So far this season, in dry conditions, a lot of relative pace has been down to the performance of the tyres. In simple terms, the softer the compound, the more grip a driver gets and the faster he can drive his car. On the negative side, though, the softer a compound is the quicker it will 'go off' and lose its grip.

    Over the first few races, the most significant problem for the teams has seemed to be how quickly the soft tyres were going off in hot weather. In Bahrain, however, despite searing track temperatures topping off at more than 50 degrees, there was more of an issue in getting the

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  • Technical Talk: If you can’t beat ‘em

    It was no surprise that some of the teams had already been spending time and money on developing double diffusers before their legality was confirmed — especially ones that looked to be struggling - and it was more of a surprise that others, particularly Ferrari, had not created something to fit on to the car in time to at least test in Shanghai.

    But then, it is not as easy as that.

    Any aerodynamic modification needs to be developed as part of the whole package. A new diffuser, even though it is attached at the rear end, will affect how the air flows over the car right from the front wing, so

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  • Technical Talk: Rain revelations

    The grip of a Formula One car can be grouped into mechanical and aerodynamic elements. Mechanical grip is dependent on a large range of factors but an important part of it is tyre temperature, with different tyres designed to operate in different temperature ranges. Aerodynamic grip, meanwhile, is all about the way the wings, underbody and diffuser manoeuvre the air to create downforce.

    Aerodynamic performance was reduced for this year to place a greater emphasis on mechanical grip when cars are running in normal conditions. In wet weather, however, the track becomes slippy and this can reduce

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  • Technical Talk: The diffuser gain

    Long before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, rival teams were expressing concerns that the three who had explored a loophole in the rules, which allowed them to make more complex and better diffusers than their rivals thought possible within the rules, were going to be in a class of their own.

    The designs were not officially challenged until the protest in Australia. The cars were passed legal and also deflected a protest from BMW at the Malaysian Grand Prix — although the latter seemed more procedural, with the German team simply going through the motions with little expectation of

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  • Technical Talk: Picking the right tyre

    Predicting the weather is a massive gamble and last weekend the Sepang roulette wheel failed to come up red after Ferrari took a punt on the black rain clouds bursting open for them on lap 18 when, with the track bone dry, Kimi Raikkonen came in for a set of wet tyres.

    It looked a big gamble at the time — but sometimes, Ferrari thought, fortune favours the brave. Not this time. Not by a long shot. Their former super-strategist Ross Brawn must have been smiling after this one — but at Ferrari it is no laughing matter, and heads could roll.

    So just how bad (or unfortunate) was Ferrari's

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  • Technical Talk: Could BMW have won?

    Kubica was running third in his BMW but had closed in on second-placed Sebastien Vettel so quickly that Theissen confidently proclaimed his driver "had the race won" if he had not crashed out three laps from home.

    His theory was all in the tyres — but was he right?

    In the closing laps, Kubica was the only one of the leading three drivers on the harder option tyre, which is a long lasting and consistent tyre compared to the super soft option, which is fast but deteriorates much more quickly lap by lap.

    Theissen's theory was that if Kubica had managed to make a clean pass on Vettel, he would

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