Lucas di Grassi, Virgin, Monza, 2010

Virgin and HRT ‘not using KERS in 2011’

2011 F1 season

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Lucas di Grassi, Virgin, Monza, 2010
Lucas di Grassi, Virgin, Monza, 2010

Virgin and HRT will not use Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems in 2011, according to engine supplier Cosworth.

Their general manager of F1 operations Mark Gallagher told F1 Fanatic:

At the moment Williams are the only one of our customers who are going to be using KERS in 2011. Virgin and HRT are not.

Both those teams have expressed an interest in KERS for 2012.
Mark Gallagher

A Virgin spokesperson said the final decision on whether to use KERS next year had not been taken yet:

“We are awaiting the outcome of the treatment of KERS in the resource restriction agreement discussions before we make a final decision on running with it or not.”

HRT declined to comment. Former Cosworth users Lotus have already said they will not have KERS on their cars at the start of the season.

F1 Fanatic’s complete interview with Mark Gallagher will be on the site later this week.

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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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55 comments on “Virgin and HRT ‘not using KERS in 2011’”

  1. I suppose they have a good reason, because otherwise that decision seems a little bon-KERS to me.

    1. jimscreechy (@)
      21st December 2010, 9:33

      Yes I suspect it’s financing. I can see them consistently not making the starting grid with the 107% rule..

      1. HRT ohh, could be pretty vicious, still, I suppose the question is, what midfeild teams arn’t using KERS. An how is this going to effect the new teams efforts to get amongst the scoring.

  2. Oh boy, they’re really going to be at the back of the field this year, even more than last.

    1. Yeah but a lack of KERS doesn’t always mean its a bad thing. It adds a lot of weight to the car and many teams struggled with balance, and yet the two teams at the front in 2009 were teams that did not use KERS.

      Yes KERS is a bit more developed and teams will now more about it and how to use it more effectively, but not having might not be the end of the world.

      1. But the cars have to be heavier next year and have to run a certain wieght distribution too…all to encourage KERS useage.

        So KERS will be more of an advantage in 2011 than it was in 2009…or at least that’s the plan.

      2. But the car weight limit is increased for 2011, and doesn’t much matter anyway in this case, as the teams all agreed a fixed front-rear weight distribution for the new Pirelli tyres.

        Even if you have KERS-sized amount of ballast, I don’t see how it does you any good this year. (Apart from budget).
        Everyone else will boost out of the slow corners and more quickly start to feel the effect of their folded-down rear wing, a double whammy that’ll leave these two teams even more detatched from their rivals.

        1. Even if the weight penalty is a bit less than it was in 2009, i expect the judge is still out on weather KERS really brings the crucial advantage.
          Instead of focussing on bringing another new system into the package (to fit with Cosworth and the gearbox) where they nor their partners have solid experience, i suppose Wirth is focussing on making the most of the aerodynamics and the moveable rear wing.

          As for HRT, i suppose they will have the engine and Williams rear end confirmed (do they have the funds?), but it might well be, that they will be doing a tough job getting the rest of the car together, let alone incorporate KERS (or the rear wing). I suppose that if they survive, they might get the Williams KERS package for the year after that.

          1. A lack of KERS will give them some good chance to develope more on aerodynamics.

          2. I think it is only resources that hold them back seeing as Williams Hybrid Power will make the KERS for Williams-Cosworth, and HRT will be using the same package. And still I do not understand why they choose not to spend their money on KERS. They do not stand the risk of developing something that doesnt work, and Williams make one of the best KERS system.

          3. jimscreechy (@)
            21st December 2010, 10:01

            Hmm the weight thing is a bit tricky. The weigth has been upped from 620 to 640 (I assume this is for all cars irrespective of wether you carry KERS or not) but I haven’t managed to find out if the weight at the end of the race has also been increased accordingly (which I expect it has). This makes a big difference to the argument in favour of carrying KERS. Quite simply, if the weight at the end of the race has also increased by 20kg (essentially meaning that even if you don’t have KERS you still need to carry the extra 20kg of ballast) then you are at a serious disadvantage if you don’t carry KERS as you are effectively carrying an extra 20kg with no power gain or fuel saving advantage.

            Having said that, KERS is not cheap. I remember 2009, some of the reported R&D and production costs of KERs for the larger teams ran up to £50 million dollars. That is a serious amount of money to spend. Even with it being far more developed after a year of implementation in 2009 the overall cost will be fairly extensive. I can’t imagine the smaller teams having even 5 million to spend on implementing this system, even if they buy it from an established manufacturer like Renault, Mclaren, Ferrari, or williams, let alone developing one of their own. This does not bode well for the likes of Virgin, Espania (if they even make it to the grid) or anyone else who can’t mortgage their house/houses for the love of the team.

          4. Yes, 640 is the weight of all KERS.

            The point of not having KERS, meant you could put the weight where you needed for best balance and performance. You can’t do that next year, the front and rear of all the cars need to weigh the same, KERS or not. The non-KERS teams will end up putting something the same weight as a KERS unit, in roughly the same place, but made out of a block of lead.

            The development costs were huge, but they have been developed, you’d have like to imagined there being some way the smaller teams could have got components at cost … but even this was perhaps even too rich for them.

            The irony of course, that while we have teams stuck outside looking in at mandated but eye-wateringly expensive battery packs, F-Duct technology costs less than a hundred bucks in parts … so that’s the one we ban, and get confused why the small teams fold.

          5. The weight of the car plus driver must be at least 640kg from the start of scrutineering until after the race.

            2011 F1 Technical Regulations

            ARTICLE 4 : WEIGHT
            4.1 Minimum weight :
            The weight of the car must not be less than 640kg at all times during the Event.
            If, when required for checking, a car is not already fitted with dry-weather tyres, it will be weighed on a set of dryweather
            tyres selected by the FIA technical delegate.
            4.2 Weight distribution :
            For 2011 only, the weight applied on the front and rear wheels must not be less than 291kg and 342kg respectively at all times during the qualifying practice session.
            If, when required for checking, a car is not already fitted with dry-weather tyres, it will be weighed on a set of dry-weather tyres selected by the FIA technical delegate.
            4.3 Weight of tyres :
            The weight limits specified in Articles 4.1 and 4.2 will be adjusted according to any differences (rounded up to the nearest 1kg) between the total set and individual axle set weights respectively of the 2010 and 2011 dry-weather tyres.
            4.4 Ballast :
            Ballast can be used provided it is secured in such a way that tools are required for its removal. It must be possible to fix seals if deemed necessary by the FIA technical delegate.
            4.5 Adding during the race :
            With the exception of compressed gases, no substance may be added to the car during the race. If it becomes necessary to replace any part of the car during the race, the new part must not weigh any more than the original part.

            1.8 Event :
            Any event entered into the FIA F1 Championship Calendar for any year commencing at the scheduled time for scrutineering and sporting checks and including all practice and the race itself and ending at the later of the time for the lodging of a protest under the terms of the Sporting Code and the time when a technical or sporting verification has been carried out under the terms of that Code.
            1.9 Weight :
            Is the weight of the car with the driver, wearing his complete racing apparel, at all times during the Event.

          6. Can’t help but notice the regulation says “his” driving apparel. Ironic, when talking about weight because female drivers tend to weigh less, and have a slight edge in that regard when weight is critical.

        2. I agree with BasCB, nothing is ever guaranteed, just because the regulations try to make KERS more of a benefit, doesn’t neccesarily mean it is going to.

          Lets wait and see, I’m just saying it might not be the end of the world.

    2. In 2009, KERS wasn’t as much of an advantage as people thought it would be. The 2 fastest cars on the grid didn’t need KERS in 2009. And given the priorities of HRT and Virgin, it makes more sense to have a car designed with a big enough fuel tank, and to achieve a lap time better than that of a GP2 car. Those 2 are going to battling amongst themselves a few laps down anyways.. so why bother with KERS?

  3. It seems crazy for them not to have the KERS if it’s available, but as I understand it, in 2011 the KERS system will be the same as in 2009 – 81bhp for 6.7 seconds. And half the field didn’t race with it in 2009, because it affected the weight distribution and drivability of the cars.

    1. Exactly. I am not sure even STR and Sauber will use the Ferrari KERS from the start of the year. Red Bull was also late to confirm wanting to use it for next year, so the advantage probably is not enormous.

    2. But for 2011 only the weight distribution is mandated (see above ^) to minimize the disadvantages of using KERS.

    3. I think other people have mentioned some of it but I honestly think they have other priorities. These are brand new teams and they are still figuring it out. Why fly down a rabbit hole when you have so many other things to work on?

      And add the budget concerns they might be facing…

  4. at least this should give the front running teams a way to check the performance lost due to weight..

    if the virgin or hrt are way closer to the midfield at a track it may mean that the KERS would be slowing the front runners down.. But at the same time it would be hard to change the systems on the car with such late notice, plus the new overnight mechanics ban.
    still interesting though

    1. the weight mandated is the same for both kers cars and non kers cars, so there is no weight saving from not running it. however there is a gain in the distribution of the weight, but in 2011 eve that is minimal since the ratio of front wheel and back wheel has been mandated.

  5. A few have commented that not to KERS is bonkers.

    But I think it shows the reality of the task for these teams to join the midfield. They don’t have the experience or the capacity to put resources into these sorts of things, and more can be gained in other areas.

    The long and short of it is, Formula one isn’t set up to be new team friendly, The only people who could come in from scratch and succeed are groups like Toyota, Honda or Volkswagon. And even they would just buy out an existing team rather than star anew.

    The three new teams will be at the back next year, and most probably in 2012 as well, Then in 2013, they won’t be able to cope with the new engine changes like older, wealthier teams will, so anything more than the back of the grid anywhere in the next 5 years would be a truly incredible feat.

    1. I might add, that I doubt KERS will be a success this time around. It’s a great idea, but the lower half of the field run on budgets so tight, there isn’t anything left to put into expensive KERS development.

    2. I also think you’ve got to bear in mind the added potential for unreliability and that these teams had two of the least reliable cars this year:

      2010 in stats part three: car performance

      1. I agree that this will be a big factor for Wirth, as Virgin arguably lost out due to unreliability.
        As for HRT, they will be glad to get the engine and Williams backend into some kind of car package, no time left KERS.

      2. yeah, its just another thing that can go wrong

  6. I’m starting to wonder if HRT are planning on using a car next year. Maybe they’ll just bolt the Cosworth engine and Willaims rear end to a shopping trolley and hope for the best.

    I’m probably the number 1 advocate of small independent teams having a right to be on the grid, but at the moment HRT are looking more like Andrea Moda than Minardi…

    1. Just cut off the back end of this years Dallarra, put in the Williams back end, bolt a diffusor on and put some effort in the rear wing and they might show up at one of the pre season tests ;-)

      1. Agreed, but where are they going to find the money to do all of that. Sakon’s pockets were only deep enough to get the team to the races this year, they still had no cash to develop the car.

    2. I also reckon that HRT won’t be on the grid next year. This is just another nail to their half buried coffin.

      Their only option now is to remodel the existing car, once again be backmarkers and quite frankly, whats the point!? The Minardi’s were at least occasionally fast enough to score points…

  7. Will we see Williams running their Mechanical KERS?

    1. No this has been confirmed somewhere else as i asked the same thing on the forums :)

    2. No they’ve said they’re using a battery unit. With the fuel tanks taking up more space now (since the refuelling ban) a battery unit is preferable because it’s easier to position the batteries to optimise weight distribution.

      Still, I wonder if that might change in 2013 when the cars will presumably have one-third less fuel to carry?

      1. Well Keith…that also depends if Porsche and Williams tie up with the new engine regs…!

        1. I bet Williams would love to do that, it would be great to have the Porsche name back in F1, even if it were only with a rebranded Cosworth engine and Williams hydro providing the drive train.

          1. It is possible to have the KERS in the front of the car I know it is venerable to crash?

  8. Does anyone else think that teams not running KERS once again makes the introduction of such a device fairly pointless? (Incidentally, I was sure that I read that it was mandatory this year – anyone know why I thought that?)

    1. There was talk of it being mandatory (much as there was talk of everyone using the same system) but it wasn’t written into the rules.

    2. Why make it mandatory?

      Power steering, carbon brake disks and seamless gear shift are used by all teams, but non of them are mandatory. The adjustable front wing was not even used by some of the teams this year and i think Lotus and STR only introduced them during the season this year.

      It is in their best interests to use it, but if they cant for budget reasons, or won’t for reliability worries, balancing troubles or just because they think they can be faster without it, thats their choice.

  9. Virgin are not going to use it because it will cost too much (fair enough) and HRT are not going to use it as they will not be there for the whole year, either selling the team before the start or turning up at the first race with last years car, being rubbish and then folding a few races in, unable to pay for engines etc.. We have seen it all before……

  10. Sooner get rid of these new teams the better. Whats the point of having them there if they can’t afford it. Were way behind everyone this year and now they are going to be even more handicapped next year without KERS. Should race in GP2 or trolleys or whatever else is more suited to their budget. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor sport and yet we have teams that cant afford drivers and now even to build the right spec car.

    1. Your real name is Luca di Montezemelo I presume. ;)

      1. I doubt it is as I have the same views, I’d rather only have 20 cars on the grid if it meant they all had the funds to develop their cars to be competitive. Imagine if the Premier League expanded to 24, and instead of 4 extra teams from the Championship joining, they made 4 completely new teams from scratch, with no fanbase, no players, no stadium and told them to get on with it? The sooner these teams catch up the better, but if they don’t catch up, I’d rather they walked by the end of this season.

        1. You were never a Minardi fan then I take it?

    2. If they’re up for the challenge, right.
      If they can’t be involved other than in blue flags, better keep out without losing their face.

  11. One of the big benefits of Kers will be passing the new teams must figure well we don’t need that. Why spend the money.

  12. I think KERS is the last of HRTs concerns. That implies they have a car to put it in.

  13. As Martin Brundle would say, they’ll be sitting ducks on the straights. Not that anyone will be behind them for position.

  14. i dont mind new teams – it all boils down to F1 being too expensive to compete in – HRT, Virgin and USGP (remember them?!) all signed up for the £40 million F1 – not what we have now!! Why should F1 not have new teams? All the teams on the grid now were all new teams at one point – if a few of them fall away then so what, it has happened throughout history of f1. F1 has its head up its own bum so much now – its just another racing series…….

    1. Personally I’d prefer it if anyone could enter any race so long as they met the rules, and we had pre-qualifying to weed out the slowest of them. Having only 13 slots available, and then having the FIA decide not to even fill all of them when there are candidates is not what competition should be about.

      Someone mentioned the Premier League above, any new team can make it there, they just have to work through the lower divisions. Not so in F1.

  15. The new teams have their heads screwed on, get the car competitive before worrying about KERS.

    When you need to find a couple of SECONDS it’s ludicrous spending valuable time and money in search of a couple of TENTHS.

    1. Seconds are made up of tenths.

      1. Yes and when you have several dozen of them to find, KERS is not a good use of a your resources.

  16. I met the guy who invented kers a couple of weeks ago. His name was Wayne, Wayne Ker.

    I’ll be here all week folks, try the veal!

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