Should KERS be put back to 2010? (Poll)

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Ferrari wants the introduction of KERS put back from 2009 to 2010

BMW is under pressure to abandon its opposition to a delay on the introduction of Kinetic Energy Reduction Systems (KERS).

Luca di Montezemolo, Flavio Briatore and John Howett representing Ferrari, Renault and Toyota have all spoken in favour of postponing the introduction of KERS until 2010.

Should KERS be postponed to 2010?

  • No opinion (5%)
  • No (59%)
  • Yes (35%)

Total Voters: 927

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The teams that are opposing the introduction of KERS say it is an unnecessary expense at a time when teams should be reducing costs. Toyota has suggested the development cost for KERS in its first year of use is as much as developing an engine. And few people need convincing of the need to reduce costs at a time when F1 faces starting 2009 with only 18 cars on the grid.

When the Formula 1 Teams Association came to its first agreement on cost reduction with Max Mosley once of the key concessions it obtained was that a standard KERS could be used by all the teams in 2010 – eliminating the cost of developing them.

But BMW’s Mario Theissen claims the bulk of the development costs have already been met, so postponing KERS now would waste money that has been spent.

I come down on BMW’s side of the argument – and not just for the reason Theissen has cited. F1 has built up a great deal of expectation around its decision to ‘go green’. Back-tracking on that promise would send out a terrible message. Ferrari, Toyota and Renault fail to grasp this in their desire to prevent BMW gaining a competitive advantage over them.

What’s your view?

More on KERS and costs

Image (C) Ferrari spa

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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37 comments on “Should KERS be put back to 2010? (Poll)”

  1. Keith, surely you meant to list Briatore (Renault) as opposing KERS, not Theissen (BMW)?

    1. Michel – indeed I did, sorry for that. Fixed it now.

  2. Though concept sounds green and interesting, it has complicated things in F1! Considering such a drastic rule changes, financial crisis and the test restrictions, in spite of missing some interesting developments, from the team’s perspective it would be nice to have it postponed to have a manageable work load. (we all know, how hectic the work will be during winter development of a new car)

    Just an year of delay, would do much to the green campaign! But as a fan, I still voted for keeping KERS this year :)

  3. Financial reasons are such a crock.

    Not one of the teams against it will put KERS to one side and not work on it during the year. They will still spend money and time developing it. The only reason they want it delayed is because they can’t get it to work, they’re just using budget reasons as a scapegoat. They will still spend just as much money on it whether its delayed or not.

    And its optional, if they don’t want it or can’t afford it this year, don’t use it. Simple.

  4. No one had a head start in knowing this was coming. Kudos to Mario and the gang for getting it going straight away. It’s racing,, go fast, develop, win.

    Could a Robert or Nick be world champ this year? It’s possible, but even Kimi said this about KERS earlier today

    “mumble,, mumble,, (bumps nose into microphone)”

    It’s going to take watching everyone competing with it to know where teams are. A new, genuinely competitive wrinkle in F1 is welcome if it increases the competition level, and gosh,, some of us even like shiny new things.

  5. KERS is a nice engineering challenge that F1 needs. Gives the teams a chance to innovate in a new domain. Who knows, it might lead to something useful in my care one day. Redoing the aerodynamics packages or the suspension for the 100th time won’t bring anything new.

  6. KERS is an expensive waste, and in the time of extreme cost cutting, I’d have thought KERS would be first to go, or at least delayed until 2010, when there could well be a standard KERS introduced.

    It’s not particularly ‘green’ either, as most of the systems use batteries, which have a limited life and will have to be replaced several times throughout the year.

    Add to that the high DC voltages and and we could be looking at some seriously nasty accidents this year.

    I don’t think that teams want it stopped to avoid a rival having an advantage (although as a side effect, that would be nice), I think there are genuine concerns that as a technology it hasn’t been given the time it needs to be developed into something that works properly. Far better to delay it for a year, introduce a standard KERS next year, and then perhaps in 3 years time relax the rules, allow the teams to develop their own systems, using the experience and knowledge gained through using the standard system.

    BTW, very wet in Portimao again this morning…

  7. No, KERS should not be postponed. The teams all had the same period of notice about its introduction, and the fact that some will gain an advantage as they committed resources to its development simply exemplifies what happens in business, engineering and even sport: those who adapt to the rule changes best will succeed. F1 history is already too full of times when the rules have been changed after a team (or tyre manufacturer) has developed superior technology. If teams do not wish to run KERS systems, that is fine. However, it should be up to them to find alternative ways of making their cars faster rather than punishing the teams who have already put effort and capital into developing their KERS systems.

  8. But if the teams don’t run with a KERS unit this season, what are they going to use? Are the Cosworth/Standard spec engines being developed for 2009 as well? Will the teams continue with ‘upgrades’ of last years engines – and wouldn’t that put Renault even further behind?
    I don’t think KERS is correctly being cited as a ‘green’ technology, it is really just an ‘alternative’ that the teams are being allowed to develop. Are any of the teams expecting to use less fuel this year?
    Has Max pushed FOM and the teams to have a ‘greener’ footprint on the places they visit? Has he asked for better tyres, hybrid support vehicles, alternative power sources for the motor homes? Are the teams actually going to have less people at the circuits this year?
    I have yet to be convinced that anybody from Max and Bernie down to the lowliest member of the pit crews have any ‘green’ concerns at all…
    And I think I can demand a more environmentaly friendly F1 without detracting from the actual racing – after all it started 50 odd years ago with a very simple format, and none of the add-ons we have now!

    1. I don’t think KERS is correctly being cited as a ‘green’ technology. Are any of the teams expecting to use less fuel this year?

      The thinking is that KERS will develop faster in a competitive racing environment, so the technology will advance more quickly and produce significant benefits that Mercedes, Toyota, BMW, Renault et al can then apply in their road cars to reduce emmissions. That’s why KERS is promoted as helping F1 to be green – racing improves the breed.

      The potential impact on road cars is open to debate but KERS is certainly more road relevant than the money F1 teams pump into, say, generating aerodynamic downforce.

    2. Great point about the other ways for F1 to go “green”- how about using solar panels to power the “motor homes” in warm-weather locations. It may not work at Silverstone or Donnington, but rig up those babies in Spain or Melbourne and you’ll be ready to go :)

  9. The bulk of the money needed to produce a working KERS has already been spent getting systems ready for the start of the season – Mario Theissen is absolutely right about that.

    Everyone knew KERS was on the way, everyone knew the parameters, everyone started from a relatively level playing field. The need to reduce costs in F1 has been evident for some time – why leave it until now to suggest postponing it until 2010? The uncharitable view is that BMW has done a better job than its rivals so they want it banned.

    That’s not to say that KERS is now bought and paid for – there will further cost involved in making the systems’ reliable and increasing performance and efficiency. But postponing KERS until 2010 wouldn’t stop teams spending that money during 2009 regardless. It would be hopelessly naive to assume otherwise.

    Like it or not, the genie is now out of the bottle – it’s too late to put it back in now.

  10. I think KERS in principle is great, but perhaps the FIA should have developed a standard unit (much like the ECU) in order to keep development costs down for the teams, but still off give a green message, which like you Keith, I think is important.

    Too late now though I guess..

    I also find it a shame that now when someone overtakes (let’s say a BMW on a Renault) we might just be praising the KERS and not the driver.

    Ok, we get more overtakes, but less memorable ones… although quantity and not quality seems more akin to todays society though, much to my disgust! $ : )

  11. KERS is a nice idea but having every team come up with their own independent solution a year before a standardised part becomes available is insanely wasteful at this time of cost cutting. I can’t understand why people are voting no unless they don’t realise how massively expensive it is and how little long term value it has.

    Listen to Ian Phillips’ comments on The Formula One Inside Line podcast from last years season to get an insiders view as to why this is a bad misfire.

  12. I agree with Theissen here. Money has been spent, so better make use of it now.

    Whether the money has been spent wisely that is a different question …

  13. I want to say yes it should be, but I know it shouldn’t. Teams have just left it too late.

    If BMW have a working model, there is no feasible reason why the other teams cannot.

  14. It’s interesting that no one, not even BMW, are 100% sure that they will unveil their KERS at the 1st race. I agree with u guys that it is a bit late in the game to pull it now, but really, no teams seem completely happy with the systems. Who is to blame. I understand that everyone had enough time to get going, but there are still concerns in each team.

    But of everything, the “cost” issue gets me. Why say you’re looking at saving money, and then ask teams to blow most of their development income on such a pricey feature.

    Whatever happens, it certainly adds more interest to the sport, and maybe that’s what they had in mind all along… just another talking point.

    I like the technology for the common roadcar. I dreamt something similar up a few years back, not knowing that there were working models at various manufacturers.

  15. What a difficult decision !
    – on the one hand, my simpathy is with small teams like Willams, who might be at a competitive disadvantage if they cannot make the KERS work at the last moment.
    – on the other, why should specially Ferrari try to cancel an advantage that BMW has achieved due to their talent and hard work ? anytime something does not please Ferrari, they try to make a big fuss along with Bernie.

    My vote then is yes ( with reservations )for KERS in 2009, with the hope that it does not hurt the smaller teams

  16. A couple of years ago, yes.

    Not now when investments already been made and postponing it would mean a great deal of resources wasted.

  17. Considering the number of changes introduced for 2009, it was always going to be a better idea to introduce KERS in 2010.

  18. F1 has to go forward from where it is. Teams have spent money on KERS, and putting it off won’t recovery that money.

    Some teams will have spent lots of KERS, others may have spent their money elsewhere. Why should those who have got it right suddenly lose out.

    With hindsight maybe it shouldn’t have been adopted for the 2009 season. But it is too late to stop it fairly now.

  19. I laugh at the argument that the technology is not ready and needs more development. Who cares? These are not commercial airliners, its F1 and if a KERS system breaks its just going to get better for the next race. I’m glad Theissein is sticking to the plan from 06. All the teams have KERS and have spent money on it. Financially nothing would change in 2010. The only benefit for delaying the technology is more reliability and less unpredictable events in F1.

    Its not the idea of KERS tham I’m excited about, but rather the fact that F1 will have some exotic new technology that the teams are free to develop in their unique ways.

    1. I agree.

      For a long time now F1 has just been about refining the current systems to their absolute limit, KERS is something (almost) new to F1 and it’s one area that the teams have a lot of freedom with.

      They’ve already spent money on it and aren’t going to stop spending so why not use it ?

  20. KERS is a complete and utter waste of time and money that makes no sense whatever in a car with an internal combustion engine. When McLaren wanted to introduce it to F1 to gain a competitive advantage it made sense but to introduce a seriously restricted version that will make little or no difference to the performance of the cars makes no sense.

    It is utterly insane that Max believes that recovering energy from brakes makes it road relevant. In an F1 car with frequent stops from 200 mph to 70 mph there is a level of sense in it. On the road however it is ludicrous. Imagine a motorway journey of 2 or 3 hours. You are going to burn fuel hauling a KERS system that is going to recover nothing at the same time your engine has a radiator attached to it to vent heat to the atmosphere.

    On an F1 car the brakes run at 1000 degrees. On a road car how hot do your brakes get. Then next time you finish a journey get out of the car and put your hand on the brake disc. Then put it on the radiator, engine block or exhaust manifold. How much sense does it make to recover energy from brakes? None whatsoever. Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to recover engine heat as there is a lot more energy there on the race track and on the road.

    1. It is utterly insane that Max believes that recovering energy from brakes makes it road relevant. In an F1 car with frequent stops from 200 mph to 70 mph there is a level of sense in it. On the road however it is ludicrous. Imagine a motorway journey of 2 or 3 hours. You are going to burn fuel hauling a KERS system that is going to recover nothing at the same time your engine has a radiator attached to it to vent heat to the atmosphere.

      I’d never thought of it that way before but that makes a lot of sense to me.

    2. Perhaps a good point for highway drivers, but as Alejandro said, some of us do live in cities and other places where stop-and-go driving is a reality and the brakes get a good deal of use. I’m not saying that such a system could be taken straight from F1 and be made street-ready, but it could play a role in developing a similar system for street cars.

  21. What Loki said

    Plus, it feels like one of those high school tests where some people didn’t study and asked for a postponement.
    Personally I also like to think that along with new aero/tyres it will help shake up the grid order, even though i’m probably delusional on that bit


    @ Steven Roy,

    Well some of us live in places called cities, stop n go baby ;)

    1. I suppose it then becomes a question of where do people do the most driving – motorways or urban areas?

  22. Everyone (including Mclaren) was willing to have KERS delayed for one year, only BMW wanted it this year and now they are not even sure they are going to use it in the first race? It does make Mario Theissen look a bit silly.

    It doesn’t make sense to introduce KERS when a standard unit will be introduced next year. It is just more unnecessary cost. The question is, do teams like Williams, Renault or Red Bull really have the money for racing with Kers? (Eventhough the development cost has already been alot, it will also cost money to actually go racing with KERS and too develop it further during the year, only to abandon to whole concept next year). There has been a few murmurs from Toyota’s side that they might leave F1, something like the KERS issue could just make their decision much easier.

    There are still concerns about the safety of KERS, and it isn’t really green technology. It is just something that Mosley has decided to dress-up as “green”.

    Some people may see this as a confrontation between Ferrari and BMW, but this is not actually the case. Luca di Montezemolo is speaking here as the president of FOTA, not necessarily for Ferrari.

    The other worrying factor is that the teams are suppose to stand together in FOTA. If they cant even stand together for this issue how will they face the FIA and Bernie.

  23. I think KERS is good. F1 needs new technology. It is relevant to road cars (sort of). and it is something that, to my knowledge, no other major racing series has

  24. Indeed a tough vote. I at first voted “no” because I thought that BMW was being an exception to the norm wand was therefore putitng the FOTA unity in danger- something that I feel is very important these days. However, after reading the article through and then looking at many of your posts, I think that the other teams should go along with the implimentation of KERS for this season.

    Someone else said it above- if BMW can develop a working KERS device/system, no reason why Ferrari/McLaren shoult not be able to either.

  25. Ferrari only want’s it put back as they are behind on there KERS system. Why should BMW have to sacrifice all there hard work on developing there KERS System?

    Hopefully the KERS system will be at Melbourne in March.

  26. i’d say it shouldn’t be put back.

    it’s already too close to the start of the season to start changing things. there’s also an added incentive for teams to develop their system as the best one will presumably be adopted in 2010 should the FIA go down the standardised KERS route.

    on a related note, does anyone know if cars will be able to use KERS off the starting line? i’ve looked through the regulations for ’09 and it says nothing about this.

    teams are not allowed to charge any KERS devices during a pitstop, but there’s no rule against charging them before the race or during the formation lap (if that’s even possible).

  27. It wouldn’t be the first time a piece of tech was banned because it gave one team an advantage. If any team thought they had a significantly better KERS they defiantly wouldn’t want it delayed for a year.

    With reports that teams are not sure if they will use KERS at the start of the season, and the fact that it will be more effective at some tracks then others, we don’t know yet how big an impact KERS will have on results.

    I have read people mention a standard KERS unit from 2010, I don’t know the detail of this, so would someone please explain exactly what the deal is? Is it like the standard engine, teams can use it if they want but they can also use their own KERS unit? Or will every team have to use the standard unit?

  28. Im a fan of BMW and i would be gutted if BMW put all that work into kers just to find out that they couldnt use it

  29. KERS is a really interesting concept that should be in F1, because F1 is a cutting edge sport that should continue to not only challenge the teams but the drivers as well. Although, I think KERS should be in F1 I think to unveil it with less than a year to develop it is not a smart thing to do. I think the FIA should give at least a year to develop and run a safe KERS.

  30. AFAIK teams agreed on KERS since 2006?

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