FIA President Max Mosely has sent a letter to Formula One
teams outlining the plans for phasing in hybrid
systems in the sport. Beginning in 2009, the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS)
will be integrated into the transmissions of F1
cars. The KERS is a mechanical system that captures kinetic energy during vehicle deceleration using a flywheel mechanism. Unlike production vehicle hybrids that convert kinetic energy to electrical energy and store it in a battery, the KERS is far more compact and lighter,
adding only about 55lbs to the car. The amount of energy that can be stored is limited but for this type of application it is actually useful since the cars are constantly accelerating and decelerating from corner to corner.
The FIA will phase in the use of KERS over the next four years in conjunction with other changes to reduce the size and output of the engines. A selectable power boost button on the steering wheel will allow the drivers to decide when to use the stored energy for a quick boost in power. New rules that are expected to be enacted for 2013 will replace the current 2.4L V-8 engines with even smaller turbocharged engines.