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KERS is back for 2011

The final day of testing in Barcelona on Monday was used by a lot of teams to run tests on their 2011 KERS.

KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) will be ran by teams once again this season, after a gentlemen's agreement between teams meant that it wasn’t ran at all in 2010 after its initial introduction to the sport in 2009.

In its simplest form the KERS device recovers the kinetic energy lost through heat when breaking, turns that energy into power, which can then be used to boost the car by around 80bhp over a period of just less than seven seconds. This can either be used in one big boost or in small doses around a lap.

Formula One are keen for this system to work initially as it helps to promote environmentally friendly technologies and to also ease overtaking as when used correctly, it will act as a “boost button”.

Dependent on the track and once again, using the system correctly, lap times can be improved from around 0.1 to 0.4 seconds, so teams need to get the cars working well or lose a significant amount of performance to their rivals.

Renualt, Williams, Force India and Mercedes had mixed times with their KERS device on Monday.

Nick Heidfeld did Monday’s testing for Renault and posted the fourth quickest lap time of the day around the Barcelona track, but the team struggled with its KERS during the morning session. “In the morning we were not able to do most of our programme because we had an issue with the KERS,” said Heidfeld to formula1.com, the German still managed to complete 95 laps.

Pastor Maldonado got the Williams up to sixth during their session which included 121 laps, but similar to the Renault team, Williams also had issues with KERS: “We had a problem with the KERS cooling system just before the session opened, so we had to disable KERS for the day.” Williams technical director Sam Michael said during Monday.

Force India’s Adrian Sutil was a lot happier with his KERS, his car was a little slower in seventh, but spent the day testing with no problems completing 64 laps: We also put the KERS on the car. It ran reliably and allowed us to complete the full test programme - very promising for this point in testing. It's still early days for the system but we have got ourselves into a good rhythm and can feed this back into the factory to get some more performance for the next test.”

For seven-time World champion Michael Schumacher this season will be his first with a KERS and he spent Monday improving set-up while also completing 114 laps, speed wise the Mercedes seemed to lacking a little in tenth position, but that was of no concern to the German.

“We’ve had another busy day, focusing on set-up work and improving our understanding of the car,” said Schumacher after the test session. “The reliability was good, which gave us a solid platform to work from, and we made progress in terms of finding set-up directions. On the performance side, this isn’t the package we will start the season with, so we are not drawing too many firm conclusions.

For those wondering why KERS will be so important this season when it was pretty much a flop in 2009, two key factors this season will mean that it will have a much bigger effect on teams this time around.

The first, the lack of refuelling means that teams can no longer be reliant on pit strategy, which puts a bigger emphasis on qualifying and the start of a race. KERS will bring teams running the system during qualifying on low fuel loads an advantage and once on the starting grid, those without the system will be at a disadvantage if they are around anyone running the system.

The second comes from the regulations, the increased minimum weight from 620kg to 640kg now means that there is no trade off between running the system and weight ballast, without getting too technical and geeky, the positives now far out weight the negatives!

Unfortunately for those out there who were hoping to see the new teams such as Team Lotus, Virgin and Hispania catch up the mid pack teams, those three teams will not be running a KERS device in 2011.










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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday February 22 2011

Time: 3:33PM

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