Date:Wednesday March 2 2011
F1 Boss Bernie Ecclestone remains unconvinced that the re-introduction of KERS and the introduction of driver enabled moveable rear wings will create more excitement in the 2011 season.
During the build up to the new Formula One World championship we have previously taken a look at the re-introduction of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) which hasn’t been used in F1 since 2009 (click here) and something that is new for 2011, due to a change in regulations which has legalised the use of driver enabled moveable rear wings (click here).
The changes have been brought in to boost the opportunities drivers have in a race to overtake.
The KERS device recovers the kinetic energy lost through heat when breaking, that energy is then turned into power, which can be used at the touch of a button 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.
When using the system correctly, lap times can be improved from around 0.1 to 0.4 seconds, or of course it could be used as a boost to either defend or attempt to gain track position during the race.
Due to the fact that the adjustable rear wing isn’t designed for different settings; it can merely be used as an overtaking aid. Push the button and it automatically increases the gap between the main plane and the flap of the rear wing from around 10mm to 50mm, with the purpose being to reduce drag down the straights, therefore again increasing the cars speed to hopefully create a successful overtaking move.
In theory at least, the devices sound like they could work to improve the spectacle of F1, however Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is unconvinced that the regulations involved in running the adjustable rear wings will work and he told formula1.com: “It is very difficult to control it by the stewards because the window of usage is very small.”
What Bernie is referring to is the regulations behind the use of the driver-adjustable rear wing.
During Friday and Saturday practice and qualifying, the use of the device is unregulated, drivers are allowed to push the button to move the wing as often as they wish to maximise the speed and performance of the car.
During the race however there have been rules implemented so that the device is only used to ease overtaking.
The adjustable wing cannot be used during the opening two laps of the race and after that it can only be used at certain parts of the track and only then when the driver is less than one second behind the car in front.
This is regulated at the track and the button will only be in use once the driver has been informed it’s ok, via a light on the steering wheel.
If the driver is unable to use the wing when required due to an error, that driver could well then be at big disadvantage for the remainder of the race as another chance to overtake may not come again adding controversy to a race rather than excitement.
'The chances for protests are inevitably there.” Bernie continued, but that isn’t his only concern. ”To me this system looks pretty dangerous. What if the wings are not up again before the corner and the driver is lacking downforce? That could easily lead to incidents. We have to observe it carefully.'
So to conclude as well as introducing a Playstation style boost button which feels gimmicky, which may or may not actually work, it could also be a safety issue.
But how do the drivers feel?
Force India’s Adrian Sutil doesn’t appear to agree with Bernie as he told formula1.com: “I don’t see that [moveable rear wings proving controversial]. I believe that these wings will serve the purpose and that there is no more risk involved with it.”
But ultimately will we see more overtaking next season?
'At the moment I guess so. Although I don't believe the KERS will help because almost everybody has it. So it is only the rear wing and I'm not sure if the idea for the races of the one second gap to the car in front will really work.' Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi told Autosport Magazine.
So no real answers, those will have to wait until Australia at the end of the month.
Date:Wednesday March 2 2011
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