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 in Australia, only seven of twenty cars on the grid had KERS installed. It was thought that as the cars moved to the faster tracks later this year, more would install KERS to take advantage of the acceleration boost.

As the cars hit the track in Shanghai China this week, teams are actually dropping KERS and no more than five are thought to be running with it. Grand Prix Drivers Association director Mark Weber calls the whole situation a "bit of a mess" and wouldn't be surprised to see it abandoned. Both the Ferrari and Renault teams have removed their systems since they add weight and the performance difference is not enough to compensate. The limited testing available in 2009 also makes it difficult to sort out the complicated systems.

Even on road cars, the additional hardware is just one component of the extra cost of hybrids. A significant amount of testing and calibration work must be done to make the systems behave seamlessly. Just adding hybrid technology to a car is no simple matter.

[Source: F1-Live]

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