Will Gray

  • Cut price future for Formula One?

    South Korea is the latest nation to secure its place on the Formula One calendar having been included for 2010 - but as anticipation builds for next month's debut in Abu Dhabi could the harbour-side track could be one of the last of the sport's 'super circuits'?

    The new Abu Dhabi track around the Yas Marina was contracted out for build at $350 million and promises to be the most advanced circuit ever seen in Formula One. It is the latest and greatest of the recent arrivals on the F1 calendar, but there are suggestions that once Korea is completed such levels will never be reached again - and

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  • End of the wind tunnel?

    Manor F1 designer Nick Wirth has revealed the new team's car will be the first Grand Prix machine designed entirely using Computational Fluid Dynamics — but can it prove wind tunnels are a thing of the past?

    Wirth confirmed last week that the new Manor F1 machine, which Wirth Research and sister company Digital Flow Solutions have been hired to develop, will be completed by the end of next month - and in doing so he confidently revealed the car will hit the track having never been near a wind tunnel.

    The general long-held consensus of designers up and down the paddock, however, is that

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  • Gray Matter: Button – The steely champion

    Jenson Button finally became world champion last weekend, but anyone who claims he stumbled to the title with a faltering display in the second half of the season couldn't be further from the truth.

    Button's title success was built on his stunning series of victories in the early part of the season when, making the most of the advantage their controversial but legal double diffuser design gave them, he won six from seven.

    But that was the easy bit. At a time when the Brawn GP car was, for the most part, streets ahead of its rivals all he had to do was steer it to victory. When their rivals

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  • Technical Talk – F1′s reliability age

    The reliability of current F1 cars is so good that Lewis Hamilton had never suffered a mechanical failure on his McLaren until his brakes failed in Abu Dhabi - and much of that is down to NDT.

    That Hamilton had completed 51 races without being let down (his four previous retirements being two spins and two collisions) is incredible considering the speed, forces and pace of development seen in Formula One (particularly the latter with regards to McLaren this season).

    Twenty years ago, in 1989, the most reliable car on the grid was a Williams with their two machines completing 81 per cent of the

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  • Technical Talk: Old hands facing battle at the back

    Formula One's new teams face a daunting task preparing for their 2010 entries - but the familiar technical faces behind the scenes offer a clue to how each new outfit might perform.

    There is no doubting the names Manor, Campos, USF1 and One Malaysia (aka Lotus, but not as we know it) do not seem to have the pedigree to be an instant hit in Formula One.

    USF1 and Lotus F1 are total start-ups with no company racing background (once again, ignore that Lotus name, it's nothing to do with Team Lotus that quit F1 in 1994) and while Manor and Campos have good backgrounds they are still, on the

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  • Senna: What’s in a name?

    News that the Senna name and colours are back in F1 next season will excite plenty of fans - but what evidence is there that Bruno, the nephew of late world champion Ayrton, can follow in family footsteps?

    They say racing is in the blood, and there are certainly plenty of occasions where family members have shown natural talent of differing levels both in the same generation and the next.

    The Schumacher brothers (although one clearly not a match for the other) showed siblings could deliver natural flair on the track while Damon Hill's achievement as the first second generation world champion,

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  • Technical Talk: Did F1 aero rules fall short?

    This season saw the arrival of a new set of aerodynamic regulations designed to create the perfect conditions for attacking racing - but did they come up short in their bid to spice up Formula One?

    The Overtaking Working Group suggested changes in late 2007 after studying the effects of aerodynamic interaction between two closely following Formula One machines, but they were conscious of the need to balance the regulations between turning F1 trivial - by making passing too easy - and not doing enough to improve the spectacle.

    The group's initial investigation, run in the McLaren simulator, saw

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  • Technical Talk: Budget beats innovation every time

    After stealing a march on the opposition Brawn GP may have held on to take both world titles this year - but their rivals' season-long pace improvements show big budgets are more than a match for innovation. 

    The dramatic debut of the BGP 001 car back in March immediately set the scene for the start of the season, with Brawn's innovative double diffuser concept steering through a loophole in the regulations and putting the team around 0.6 seconds ahead of the pack straight out the box, the smiles on the faces of Jenson Button and the team's engineers in the Barcelona paddock showing they could

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  • Technical Talk – Pole importance

    Low speeds. High temperatures. Limited overtaking. Yep, we're back in Hungary — and qualifying should be the key to success this weekend. But will it be as crucial as ever this time?

    The Hungaroring circuit is second only to Monaco in terms of low average speeds due to its combination of a large number of medium-speed corners and a few very slow ones - but it is the non-stop succession of twists and turns and the unique nature of the track surface and its surroundings that make qualifying so important there.

    The circuit layout offers just one real overtaking opportunity, at the end of the

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  • Engine strategy crucial

    The restriction to eight engines per car has added another strategic element to F1 this season - and with each engine beyond the permitted eight incurring a 10-place grid penalty the new element of engine change tactics is getting serious.

    Formula One engines are made up of around 5,000 separate parts, 1,500 of which are moving at a very rapid rate. The maximum 18,000rpm limit is way above the levels reached by an average road car, and creates incredible stresses on the engine during its lifetime.

    At this maximum speed, for instance, the valves in the engine will move up and down more than

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