• Jun 8, 2009
Ferrari at the 2009 Turkish Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's no secret that the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association are jointly interested in reducing the cost required to compete in F1 racing, and the FOTA has taken a step in that direction by resolving to abandon the use of the controversial kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) that are permissible but not mandatory for the 2009 season. According to reports, the vote to ban the hybrid powertrains was not unanimous, but a majority of teams have voted against the technology for 2010.

As it stands, only four of the ten teams taking part in the '09 season have actually used KERS in competition and only two, McLaren and Ferrari, used it last weekend at the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul. This vote raises questions as to how F1 will promote environmental awareness in the absence of KERS-equipped powertrains.

Says McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh:
"F1 has to demonstrate that it has some green credentials, but at the same time, in this economic climate everybody is looking to save costs. It has been a huge effort talking about new entrants and making sure the smaller teams stay in F1. McLaren's position is we would like to see KERS retained – but we also accept that we have to be responsible members of the F1 community, and if the majority don't want to have KERS, or can't afford KERS at the moment, then we have to be realistic."


[Source: Crash.net | Photo: FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry to burst your bubble, but KERS was never really about being "green." Maybe on the PR front it was, but it was more about just giving an additional boost. It wasn't saving fuel or such like in the somewhat similar regenerative braking in modern day, consumer-grade hybrids.
      • 5 Years Ago

      KERS is just a pointless attempt to be 'green' in a sport which clearly isn't. Racing by definition isn't green, so why are they bothering.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And it doesn't save any fuel. It would only have a benefit if it was used more often and the gasoline engine was made more fuel efficient and less powerful (with the electric engine picking up the slack)

        • 5 Years Ago
        I tend to agree with you...KERS is something that isn't necesarily developed from racing technology and has already proved that it isn't capable to be a field leveler with the given restrictions to it. in short, develop the KERS for real world cars and keep F1 the way it is. perhaps they can justify re-introducing turbochargers as a way to increase efficiency.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is kind of lame. I was excited about the prospect of them upping the allowed power (instantaneous and over a lap), and allowing AWD.

      I guess they're still upping the allowed active aerodynamic variability, so that's some sort of progress i suppose.

      Plus there's the TTXGP in a few days time - technological development is not dead!
      • 5 Years Ago
      To promote green energry for the sake of being green in Formula 1 is simply wrong.
      But to use green energy to win & slaughter the competition in and make more $$$ for the bottomline, then it is a good thing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @ PauloBecker

      WOOD is used to facilitate the pre/post race measurements. 10mm before the race; if it dips past 9mm, the car is DQ'd. if the method is good enough for Brawn, Newey, etc., it should be good enough for the couch potato fan.

      even better: as far as i know, NECKcar still uses carburetors!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Can't help but believe the rules limiting the boost bump to 6 secs caused KERS to be a disadvantage. Carrying 80 lbs of KERS weight around the track to only use it for a short time is a blunder that the Honda/ Brawn engineers used in their favor, resorting to a diffuser and a more aerodynamic car.

      I say include KERS but don't limit its use. But... drop the diffusers!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The rules severely limit KERS. The FIA went to Toyota and Honda, and asked them to help develop the concept. They then turned around and wrote everything into the rules so those two teams would not have a significant advantage using their technology. So basically, the tied KERS hands behind it's back and cut off it's balls before it even entered the ring.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It seems to me that the most logic, simples step to do it without artificial rules, is to limit the fuel quantity for the race, and let the teams figure out freely how to go as fast as possible using that same quantity.

      That would for sure develop a lot of technology for more efficient engines that could translate to the auto industry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The current 2010 already rules calls for something similar, there will be no refueling at all next season. So the F1 cars will have to begin the race with the entire quantity of race fuel onboard the car. This means that more fuel efficient cars will have less fuel onboard and hence be faster.

        However, KERS is a red herring, a Potemkin village. Designed to artificially improve the image of Formula 1; to somehow convince the public that this huge soap opera is relevant to transportation technology by introducing 'hybrid' technology into the cars. Problem for Mosley is that you can't say you want to cap the team's budget yet at the same time introduce expensive rules that would dramatically increase costs. Flavio Briatore has said that adding KERS to their car cost over £10million, already a quarter of the rule cap.

        This is the problem when you have a whore-mongering sadist policing your sport; they confuse business with pleasure, a high-speed S&M play.

        • 5 Years Ago
        @Phil

        I agree with you as far as pushing real world technologies but if this one tank of fuel rule immediately goes into effect for 2010 then I think it would make for an even more unexciting racing experience while running the race on one tank becomes developed and perfected. It would be like the teams shifting the priority of racing and putting on a good show... to racing their fuel loads..idk just my 2 cents.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well as of next year refueling is going to be banned so cars are going to have to start the race with enough fuel to get them to the end. This is going to encourage pushing fuel efficiency as the weight savings of having to carry less fuel would add up to some nice lap time gains. Thats probably going to drive more interesting and piratical in the real world technologies than KERS ever did
      • 5 Years Ago
      The idea of promoting major savings while promoting major changes in drive train technology (KERS), rewriting the aerodynamic rules for this season, rewriting them again for next season (movable wings for cost capped teams), and reworking the cars to carry enough fuel to run the full distance, never made sense when it came to saving money except in Max's addled brain.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Want F1 to be green? Replace the engines with a diesel or ethanol power plant. Lower the car's weight. Reduce the carbon footprint in the manufacturing processes.

      Simply adding tricky gizmos to the cars will NOT make F1 greener, and as we saw with KERS, will probably detract from the F1 experience.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Weaksauce

        F1 cars are light but can still shed weight. Currently there is a rule for the minimum weight of driver/car combo but teams have still made components lighter so that the required weight can be achieved by adding ballast at certain points to tune the car's handling characteristics. So less weight would just mean less ballast but that doesn't necessarily have to cut into the way the cars handle (most of which is due to aero parts anyways).

        Also, I agree with other folks who have mentioned this: bring back turbos. With direct injection there's less mass, and better fuel efficiency while retaining power.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As far as I know, they still drive with a PLANK OF WOOD under their cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Reduce the vehicle weight?

        They ALREADY, WITH DRIVER, weigh under 1500 lbs. Unless you start using space age materials like aerogel, and increase the use of carbon fiber.

        ( oh wait. Budget cap. uh, cardboard?)

        There are too many puppeteers pulling too many different strings.
        The teams have the right idea. KERS was a novel idea. it weighs too much.
        Mosely and Bernie are really pissing me off.
        Bitch all you want about Ferrari's influence in the sport. They've been in the sport since its inception. I'm inclined to listen to them over Max and Bernie ANY DAY.

        I'm not a Ferrari fan, btw. I'm a Red Bull ( Renault ) fan.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So let me see if I have this straight. A sport that builds vehicles with astonishing fuel burn rates, that get through a car design every season, an engine every two to three races, and multiple sets of tires per two hour race, and that ships the whole circus across entire continents every couple of weeks... in short, a sport that has a carbon "footprint" you could see from space...

      ...this sport thinks it can "demonstrate it has some green credentials" with KERS? Did anybody on the entire planet look at KERS and go "ooh, F1 seems very green now"?

      I've been a fan of F1 for nearly four decades, and I have no idea what the current regime is thinking. They should either do something that has a chance of trickling down into better efficiency in street cars (like aerodynamics or stronger/cheaper composite materials), or just accept that part of the appeal of F1 is that it is inherently extravagant, and salve their consciences with a donation to rain forest preservation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't forget about the green stripe on the tires! It's part of the FIA's “Make Cars Green" campaign to "raise green awareness". I wish I was making this stuff up.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Carl, that was one of the best written comments I've read on autoblog.

        Seriously, unless they switch to electric engines or maybe some really environment friendly biofuel (no not ethanol..) like biogas, just stick with the recipe that made F1 what it once was and make it obligatory for every team to donate 5€ million to some green organisation or fund. That would surely be a better use of the KERS development money in an green-enviroment perspective.
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