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The McLaren Formula One team has joined Ferrari, Renault and Williams in backing the return of kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) to the series in 2011. A handful of teams experimented with these hybrid drive systems in 2009 but everyone abandoned the systems for 2010. McLaren was actually the only team to win a race with a KERS-equipped car in 2009.

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What's the world coming to when two of Italy's most storied supercar manufacturers – we're talking Ferrari and Lamborghini here, in case you couldn't tell – are planning to launch hybrid automobiles? Well, actually that'd be three of Italy's most storied automakers, now that rumors of just such a Maserati are making the rounds on the Interwebs.

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What's the world coming to when two of Italy's most storied supercar manufacturers – we're talking Ferrari and Lamborghini here, in case you couldn't tell – are planning to launch hybrid automobiles? Well, actually that'd be three of Italy's most storied automakers, now that rumors of just such a Maserati are making the rounds on the Interwebs.

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It turns out that when the time came for the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team to develop a hybrid drive KERS for this year's car, it did not do the job in-house. Instead, it went to a specialist with perhaps more experience than anyone in developing such systems, Zytek. The UK engineering firm developed the hybrid powertrain for the first modern race car of the type, the Panoz Q9, a decade ago.

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2009 has not been a good season for the McLaren team and defending world driving champion Lewis Hamilton. Nonetheless, the team – along with Ferrari – are the only ones still persevering with the new kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS). This weekend in Hungary, the efforts finally paid off with the first-ever victory for a car equipped with the hybrid electric drive system.

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The Williams Formula One team developed one of the most unusual approaches to a hybrid KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) but it looks increasingly unlikely that the system will ever be used in competition. The current F1 teams have previously voted unanimously not to use KERS in 2010, even though the rules allow it.

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We've seen plenty of devices that are meant to recapture the kinetic energy of an automobile as it moves overhead, most recently at a Sainsbury's supermarket in Gloucester, United Kingdom. Oddly enough, we'll soon see the technology at a Burger King franchise in New Jersey as a company called New Energy has announced plans to trial its MotionPower energy generator at the fast food joint's drive-thru.

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After using its KERS hybrid system on and off through the first half of the 2009 Formula One season, the BMW-Sauber team has decided enough is enough. The team will shelve the system through the remainder of the year while it focuses on aerodynamic development. In spite of the utter lack of success using the kinetic energy recovery systems this year, team boss Mario Theissen said the development process has been useful for the company's production hybrids. Lessons learned in developing the elect

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After using its KERS hybrid system on and off through the first half of the 2009 Formula One season, the BMW-Sauber team has decided enough is enough. The team will shelve the system through the remainder of the year while it focuses on aerodynamic development. In spite of the utter lack of success using the kinetic energy recovery systems this year, team boss Mario Theissen said the development process has actually be useful for the company's production hybrids. Lessons learned in developing th

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The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) voted this past weekend to push for a ban on kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) in 2010. While it wasn't a unanimous vote, a majority of the eight teams remaining in the group voted in favor of the ban. The Williams and Force India teams were recently suspended from the group over their decisions to side with the FIA in the argument over budget caps for 2010.

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The ongoing debate among Formula one teams over whether to run kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) continues as those teams head to the streets of Monaco this weekend. While as many as eight cars have used the new hybrid systems at races earlier this year, only four are expected to use it this week. Only the cars of Ferrari and McLaren have committed to running KERS in Monaco.

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McLaren MP4-24 - Click above for a high-res image gallery

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McLaren MP4-24 - Click above for a high-res image gallery

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Adding an electric motor and battery to a vehicle is just one of many ways to create a hybrid. We've seen hydraulic hybrids being tested in a variety of commercial vehicle applications. Torotrak has an altogether different mechanical system based on flywheels. The Torotrak system first came to our attention a couple of years ago when the FIA proposed allowing kinetic energy recovery systems on Formula One cars. Subsequently, at least two F1 teams licensed the Torotrak system for use, but none ar

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Apparently, hybrid drive systems aren't catching on in Formula 1 this year. The new 2009 rules allowed, but did not require the addition of hybrid systems called KERS or kinetic energy recovery systems. Over the course of the 2008 season, teams spent time developing and testing KERS with varying degrees of success. The idea was to provide teams a way of boosting performance to compensate for losses that came from limiting engine speeds and require the engines to last longer. At the opening race

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The soon to be independent McLaren Automotive plans to launch what it calls an "eco-friendly" supercar in two years. McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis announced on Thursday that the company was being restructured and the road car division would be spun off later this year as an separate company as it winds down production of the Mercedes SLR. Dennis is stepping aside from the Formula One race team to focus on bringing a new range of sports cars to market, including the car currently code named P11.

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Today's 2009 Formula One season opener in Australia marked the debut of kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) in the sport. Unfortunately, this first use of the new hybrid drive systems had mixed results. Only seven of the twenty cars on the grid were running with KERS and, in qualifying, the top result was seventh position for Ferrari's Felipe Massa. The BMW team ran one car with KERS and the other without. Robert Kubica qualified fourth fastest in the non-KERS car while Nick Heidfeld was in n

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Click above for high-res gallery of the Ferrari 599XX

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Click above for gallery of the Ferrari 599XX

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