Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems have been causing the teams some grief this winter, with the technology proving difficult to get right. Throughout the off-season, the squads have been testing their devices and all have suffered problems with it. Ferrari notably suffered problems with cooling and on more than one occasion their car had be brought back to garage for investigation. However, the Scuderia along with Renault are now expected to run KERS at the first race of the season next weekend.
Currently, Renault and Ferrari are the only teams to announce their intention to use the device, while Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Force India, Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams have all said they will postpone their system’s debut until later in the year, most likely at or after the circus heads to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix. McLaren and BMW are yet to decide what to do.
The relationship between the teams that are running KERS and those that are not is interesting. It is understood that Italian electronics company Magneti Marelli have developed Ferrari’s device, and perhaps rather presumptuously, it was assumed that Scuderia Toro Rosso would use the same device. Likewise, Red Bull Racing were expected to be running with Renault’s. This is down to STR and RBR using Renault and Ferrari engines respectively, and KERS obviously has a close relationship with the power units.
However, with Enstone and Maranello both announcing that their KERS is ready, I wonder why the Red Bull family of squads have not also issued similar statements.
Either way, we should be able to see KERS in action in Australia next weekend, which will provide us with an instant comparison between those who are running it and those who are not. It will be very interesting to see how much of an impact the technology will have on lap times as well as the ability for drivers to pass one another during the race. It could either be a great success, or a spectacular failure. Or, it could make no difference whatsoever, the weight of the device cancelling out any real advantage thought possible to be gained.