The new-for-2009 Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) are starting to make their first appearances on F1 test machinery. However two teams have run into early problems with the devices.
First Red Bull suffered a fire at their factory while working on the systems. And today a BMW mechanic got an electric shock while testing the device at Jerez.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner played down the incident at his factory:
It was contained within a chemical, as a safety precaution to keep it cool, that let off quite a lot of steam and unfortunately caused about two hours of disruption in the main factory as the smoke had to be dealt with by the fire brigade.
It was not a major incident and never at any point dangerous, but one that we obviously had to take all precautions with.
He also suggested that other teams “have had similar issues.”
BMW ran into problems with KERS while Christian Klien was testing the team’s 2007 car modified to use a KERS at the F1 test at Jerez today. When the car returned to the pits after completing three laps a mechanic touched it and was thrown to the ground. BMW has now suspended testing of the device.
Prior to the malfunction BMW’s Mario Theissen said he thought the devices were no less safe than anything else on the car:
If you see how well this is under control today, anything else is under control as well. I don’t see a risk as high as an exploding fuel tank or a leaking fuel tank. But we have to take a very comprehensive approach to make sure that all the components are under control.
FIA president Max Mosley announced the plans for KERS in June 2006. Earlier this year Honda revealed it had already tested its KERS in a working car. Other teams such as Renault do not plan to run theirs until it is installed in their 2009 cars.
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