While most of the big teams in Formula One, including Ferrari, Renault and BMW, are planning to run battery electric Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) on their 2009 cars, the Williams team is following a different path. One of the few remaining independent teams, Williams has opted for a mechanical system. The system uses an electrically driven flywheel spinning at up to 40,000 rpm to recapture kinetic energy during braking. Under braking, the rear wheels turn a motor/generator that spins up the flywheel. When the driver presses a boost button on the steering wheel the flywheel releases its energy to drive the motor and provide an extra power boost.

The season opens up in Australia March 29, but the team still hasn't decided whether to use KERS during the first race. When they do start running the KERS, it will be able to provide a boost of up to 80 hp for 6.6 seconds per lap. According to Williams, the system can cut lap times by about 0.3 seconds in its current form but that boost is expected to increase in future years. Williams is also talking to several automakers about adapting the technology to production vehicles.

A video with an animation of the system can be seen at the Williams site.

[Source: Williams F1]

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