may have lead the way to mass-market hybrid vehicles
with its Prius
, but that institutional knowledge is apparently not helping it on the Formula One circuit. While Toyota reportedly spends more money on its F1 program than any other team (and perhaps several small countries) it has yet to win a race after 6 years of trying and now they seem to be behind in developing a hybrid
system for the racers. Starting in 2009, F1 teams will be able to use a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) to provide regenerative braking and an on demand performance boost. Toyota F1 boss John Howett has told AutoSport magazine in Britain that his team are unlikely to be ready to run its KERS system from the beginning of the 2009 season. Toyota are not the only team having issues with the development, Red Bull
have both had testing incidents with KERS. F1 teams will have to learn to deal with high voltage batteries and also ensure that they can actually gain performance even with the added weight and complexity.