Horner reveals Red Bull never used KERS

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Christian Horner admitted Red Bull did not use KERS on their car during the Australian Grand Prix.

Horner told the BBC the team tested KERS on Friday but decided not to race it due to concerns over its reliability.

The team did not admit they’d switched it off as they were concerned about being overtaken at the start of the race.

However Sebastian Vettel got away cleanly and held his lead.

However it meant that later in the race Mark Webber was unable to use KERS while trying to pass Fernando Alonso.

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    67 comments on “Horner reveals Red Bull never used KERS”

    1. So obviously the graphic shown for all cars are generic, it’s not surprising they weren’t running it really.

      1. It’s not but I guess they will take it as a compliment that people thought they had they’re own unique system.

        1. Well it was already known they weren’t running it for the whole race but instead possibly using it for the first 2 laps then ditching it.

          So it was kind of predictable.

        2. Red Bull must absolutely love it when other teams are scratching their heads in confusion such as with the ride height control and the “start only” KERS.

    2. I don’t think there’s a problem with reliability there. There’s just some hanky-panky going on there. I’m certain about it.

      1. I agree. maybe they could they gain a weight advantage for opting to not put the equipment on the car

    3. Lack of KERS would have enabled them to optimise the centre of gravity better, especially as Seb is quite light. They’ll need it in Sepang though, those straights are too long and there is less demand on mechanical grip.

      1. I think they did do a lot of work to get the car perfect without it.

        From what Horner said, its clear their KERS is not one package but strewn all over the car, just like some teams had in 2009. I expect they will bring it to races like Sepang, but it is bound to be a bit compromised.

      2. David Coulthard was saying it’s not that simple. The teams agreed to 1% weight distribution difference for this year, so just taking out KERS really would not make that much of a difference.

        Apparently Newey just did not want to compromise the shape of the car to package it though and with the shape they have, they are having problems getting it integrated and working properly. that might be cooling, or charging of the unit itself, but it could also be just the brake balancing or cooling that they’re not happy with.

        1. I’m making a difference between weight distribution and centre of gravity, especially if Red Bull’s KERS is wrapped around the other stuff instead of being in a box under the engine.

        2. The idea that Newey’s refusal to compromise design rings truer to me than the conspiracy theories. They just haven’t managed to sort it out yet. It makes little sense to ditch an important element for defending and passing on track when the season is still just starting – if McLaren do develop the car to match RBR, they’ll need everything possible in the title fight. I found it bizarre that anyone thought a ‘mini-KERS’ used only off the grid was outsmarting their rivals – turns out it was probably a rumour RBR started to keep everyone else off the scent.

          1. oops, ‘refusing’

    4. No KERS, Faster car, Another 2009? Obviously Webber disadvantaged from absence of KERS(of course slow pit stop hurts much more), but if Vettel could go pole to win again and again, Why do they need KERS?

      1. and it seems like there’s flexible wing controversy once again, according to Scarbs. We really need onboard sensor to end this controversy.

        1. I’ve never understood why that is a controversy in the first place. The rules are very clear: there is to be no flex. There is, very clearly visible, a lot of flexing. Hence, whatever the tests say, the bloody wings are illegal. What is the problem just coming out and saying that?

          Load tests my tiny hiney, everyone can see the wings are flexing. Period, end of story. Get a new wing.

          1. We’ve been through this again and again. The rules are very clear and they DO NOT say no flex: they say no more than a certain amount of flex under a specified load. There is no such thing as no flex, every team uses wings that flex to some degree. The precedents on there being no such thing as zero degrees of movement are quite clearly established from previous FIA hearings. Which is why they’re legal and no teams are protesting any more. Don’t get on your high horse about something you haven’t even checked.

          2. It’s impossible to make wings that do not flex at all – it’s in the nature of the material. All wings flex a little bit. How much is too much? That is defined in the rules and RBR’s wing flexes less than that.

      2. Imagine if they had KERS: pole with 3 seconds’ margin.

        1. I think 2.2 seconds because of Kers is a little too much.

        2. KERS is worth around 0.4 sec ,so margin would have been 1.1 secs

          1. You’re assuming they had KERS installed but just didn’t use it?

        3. Kers appears to make hardly any difference at all As we saw the last time it wad used. A team not using it have the advantage of placing the weight better in the car while those that do use it have the advantage of small boosts of acceleration. they pretty much cancel each other out in the long run which is why most people think it is such a useless idea.

    5. I didn’t think it weight as much as 30kg to be honest but with that in mind, not running it makes sense.

      Wonder if FOTA will have anything to say about it.

    6. I am afraid of Red Bull with KERS…

      1. I’m not – they simply won’t use it and if they do it will be comprimised in order t0 fit it into the car.

        1. No it will make them even faster.. the car designed with KERS built in so no compromise in running it. They took if off because it was a reliability risk they didn’t need to take with there present performance

          1. Geordie_Porker
            27th March 2011, 9:36

            BBT: Horner’s comment was that Newey wouldn’t compromise the aero to fit KERS, so they have clearly re-designed KERS to fit the car – so there is a reliability concern because of the re-packaging. The question is whether they can solve the reliability or whether they will have to accept a compromise on the aero…

            Will be interesting to see how this develops!

    7. I think they cannot just not run it, because of FOTA agreements. Resource Restriction is also a FOTA agreement isn’t it?

      So reliability issues or ‘issues’ this weekend had a positive effect.

      I hope I’ll get some more insight in KERS vs braking. Alonso got the message to charge 2 points more, so apparantly Ferrari can play with charging vs braking, I guess.

      1. Anyone who doesn’t want to run KERS is free to do so, be it RBR,Lotus,Virgin or HRT. There was agreement not to run it in 2010, there’s no agreement of any kind in 2011.

    8. Perhaps they took off the only thing they couldn’t get right in the making of the car?

      It’s a real possibility that RBR would have been slower with KERS on, they gave 0.5s in the last sector in which the other teams barely could use KERS.

    9. Gaston (@golarrazabal)
      27th March 2011, 9:16

      Hah, I find it funny how speculation got crazy after Horner said that “our KERS is different from everyone else’s” and now it was revealed that they just didn’t race it at all.

      I quite like these mind games, heh.

      1. Oh damn, i quite liked the idea of a “mini-KERS controversy”.

      2. “Our KERS is different from everyone else’s,” because our KERS is in a box in the back of the garage, whereas everyone else’s are in their cars.

        1. Our KERS doesn’t work!

          1. really like your comment and can not resist myself to post this comment…….. :-)

            1. The commentators know where how KERS is .

    10. They could have done with it for Webber on a couple of occasions but overall it was a good decision. They obviously trusted Vettel’s pace, and once he had pole there was a much lesser chance of unreliability and losing the race.

    11. Redbull seems always up to some Hanky Panky. I am beginning to believe they might not be as innocent as they present themselves afterall

      1. Geordie_Porker
        27th March 2011, 10:58

        As a diehard Mclaren fan, I would love for you to be right, but sadly Newey is simply a genius – and I would hardly call omitting KERS ‘Hanky Panky’ – if they can find 0.3s through better aero, then fair play to them (said through gritted teeth! ;) )

    12. From what I remember of the KERS graphics last time it was introduced, if a car didn’t have KERS then it didn’t show a battery on the on-screen “HUD” they showed. Did anyone see any of the other teams who we know have come out and said they aren’t running KERS to verify if it is just a generic graphic for all this time around?

      Still a theory going around that the start-only system was actually on the car, but there was questions about its legality, since if the batteries are charged in the garage then it’s not gained under braking, the energy isn’t actually being recovered (a rather crucial part of an Energy Recovery System).

      Either way, absolutely barnstorming drive by Vettel again. Didn’t faff about with Button. Would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Hamilton had got a better start/his floor hadn’t snapped, but Vettel did everything he needed to do.

      Wonder if the extra weight Webber carries is starting to affect the weight distribution more than when they were allowed to play around with ballast more?

      1. The graphic will of course be generic – it’s under the control of the broadcaster, not the teams. However, when a team announces they won’t be using KERS, it’s simple to substitute a “no battery” icon when viewing on board with those cars.

        Red Bull didn’t make such an announcement so there was no reason to change the graphic.

        Horner clearly stated that Adrian Newey vetoed any change to his aero design to accommodate the KERS system, so it seems perfectly reasonable that they are still trying to package things properly.

        No wonder Hamilton could just about keep pace with Vettel! When Red Bull do race with it, they’ll either lap everyone or break down…

    13. Does this count as an ‘egg on face’ moment I predicted for Mclaren and Ferrari when one of the keys to RedBull’s pace is so simple and obvious – of ourse it’s differant – it’s not even there!

      1. Yes, Calum. Of course you can say you have egg on your face. You can say you have egg on your face any time you want. I don’t think it is restricted.

    14. They will use it when there is less reliability risk.

    15. So, Looks like i did not miss much of a race.

      1. Had Red Bull come in 1-2, Ferrari 3-4, and Mercedes 5-6, I would have said you were correct. But Petrov managed a 3rd, the Saubers were a big surprise until their DQ, the McLaren duo managed a good start to the season despite a horrendous testing effort, Rubens conducted a demolition derby exhibition, and we got to see DRS vs. KERS in action. Not bad for a “did not miss much of a race” race.

    16. Haha…Horner loves these mind games….Love his word against Lewis too….

    17. Didn’t envisage them using it anyway once they had pole – the only gamble was making sure vettel got into the first corner first, which he did well. easy!

    18. I m affraid season is over.

      1. May be but I think Mclaren will fight back may be Ferrari.

    19. I personally think All teams should be made to have KERS and have the system switched on.
      Make it more level if they break down because of reliability then its their own fault for not perfecting a reliable system.

      Perhaps a standard KERS system across the grid should have been the answer here

      1. Absolutely. I cannot agree more with you

        1. I like the idea that each team can choose which technologies (from an approved list) they wish to use. Variation introduces more factors to affect the result.

          Of course most will want to use everything they can, but if a team design their car so hard in one direction that they can drop one or more other things and still be competitive, that’s excellent.

          1. I quite agree. No one says you have to fill up your car wth fuel. Greed is grabbing everything even those you don’t need. RedBull are being contented with their device haul. No need to add thrusters when you already have a Rocket. :-)

      2. Why? This way, we can compare directly cars with and without KERS. Simply having KERS and not using it is not the same as not having KERS at all. So, it is only fair that they let them have this option.

    20. I believe these games with KERS should not be allowed by the FIA. The rules should be more clear if they do not want another 2009. The rule IMHO should be either KERS or a nice weight penalty.

      1. Shouldn’t every car have a minimum weight (with or without KERS)?

        1. All cars need to have a mass of 640 kg including the driver don’t matter whether they use KERS or not.

    21. What this proves is that KERS is rubbish and just another gimick that only cost the teams money.
      RedBull have clearly found out that if thdey spend money improving their downforce they will be able to take the corners so fast and be miles ahead to make the KERS of the chasing pack ineffective.
      They also don’t have to worry about the associated KERS discharge/recharge, brake bias.

      1. It’s still good to have for the start. Hamilton made an awful start and i have the feeling that he only manage to keep the second place from Mark because of Kers.

        1. But if Webber had it, a bad start will still be a bad start. All II am implying is that KERS everywher cancles out KERS. And all that is left is a compromised car.

        2. On the flip side, Vettel must have been glad he made a bad start because he would have been a sitting duck otherwise. A little lucky but gambles pay off sometimes and there’s nothing wrong in that.

    22. So Red Bull already have the fastest car without the ~0.5s you get with KERS?

      Bad news for everyone else!

      1. I believe it might hurt them a bit in the corners so their ultmate performance while slightly improved, will yet not be optimal

    23. So does this mean that this team had a better weight distributions? I don’t think they need KERS as their car is already very fast.

    24. I think the fact that Red Bull were not using KERS makes this season quite interesting. If they continue to not use KERS they really need to make sure they lock out the front row every weekend.

      KERS is somewhat of a comprimise for balance, as you don’t have the same degree of freedom as without it. You can put the weight were you want it without KERS, well to a certain degree anyway. So Red Bull have decided the cons outweigh the pros here.

      I just wonder how long this can last, because Webber couldn’t do anything about Alonso without KERS. If this happens again and Red Bull drop down the order or fail to lock out the front row, they could really do with having KERS on the car. KERS really helps you to get close enough to make a pass, and doesn’t have to be used on the straight.

      I can’t wait to see how the season develops!

    25. Not ready to pronounce another Newey miracle. If we want to see a KERS vs. no-KERS battle, we had it, for the first stint, and it looked like McLaren may have had the measure of Vettel or thereabouts.

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