F1 2010 rules: KERS to stay

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton scored the first race win with KERS
Lewis Hamilton scored the first race win with KERS

F1 cars will continue to use KERS in 2010.

Despite widespread expectations that Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems would be dropped after just one year, the new F1 regulations published today includes provision for the devices.

The F1 teams’ association had agreed not to use KERS next year – but I’m glad it’s staying.

There has been no change to the amount of power a KERS may produce in 2010. Cars are still limited to a maximum output of 400kJ per lap, approximately 80bhp for 6.6 seconds.

However one other rule change may have a bearing on how many teams choose to use KERS: the minimum weight has been increased from 605kg to 620kg. That’s half the weight of a typical KERS, and it should require teams to make fewer compromises to their designs in order to accommodate the technology.

Although KERS is unpopular with some, there are arguments for keeping KERS in F1 and, as I wrote last month, I find some of them convincing.

Since then, McLaren has become the first team to win a race with KERS. Martin Whitmarsh explained the technical challenge of making their system, developed in co-operation with Zytek, viable and useful:

F1 is a real packaging challenge. To be able to harvest energy and redeploy it is challenging enough but to achieve that in an F1 car environment has been a real challenge. Inevitably there are compromises. The lightest systems are 30kg – ours is one of, if not the lightest. But 30kg on an F1 car is around 1 sec of lap time. Given the amount of energy and power we’re able to deploy the theoretical benefit is never any more than 0.3 to 0.4s per lap.
Martin Whitmarsh

Despite those problems, some teams are starting to get to grips with them. Already those without the technology are looking at the long straights of Spa and Monza and wondering how they are going to keep the KERS cars behind.

With the technology staying for next year I wouldn’t be surprised to see teams other than McLaren and Ferrari run the systems before the end of the year.

I’m pleased to see KERS stay in F1 next year. It has done more to create interesting racing this year than the much-vaunted aerodynamic changes have. What do you think?

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76 comments on “F1 2010 rules: KERS to stay”

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  1. What i think???? what else can i think!! mcLaren will obliterate the field!! thats what i think :)

    1. i wonder what BMW are thinking??

  2. If it will really stay, KERS should be mandatory. Ferrari, McLaren and Renault have spent an unbelievable amount of money, time and resources to deliver a competitive system compromising their aero package to fit the system inside the car while Red Bull and Brawn choose the other way getting a huge benefit of it.

    To be fair, FIA should turn KERS mandatory and we would see how those teams would deal with the system against Ferrari and McLaren who have a very developed system on their hands…

    1. It should be either yes or no for everyone.

    2. I fully agree. Having only a few cars on the grid with KERS just ruins it for me. All or none :)

    3. I hope they still will go for mandatory KERS in 2011 with increased power.

      1. yeah i agree it should be mendatory for all cars because just a few having it just ruins the race. Like you see the McLarens and Ferraris flying off the line at the start, that isn’t racing.

        1. I’m sorry but I completely disagree.
          Did anyone shout for Force India when they were the only team on the grid without a seamless shift gearbox?

      2. That’s right. If the system could release more energy per lap, then it would push every team to use it.
        I wonder if current KERS systems could handle delivering 80HP for longer than 6.6sec…

        1. The technology certainly can; I expect the exact units they use right now probably can’t, as they would’ve been designed like all things in F1 i.e. with bugger-all spare capacity.

          Why have a 200hp KERS system when the regs only allow 80hp – the former would only weigh more, surely? :)

          But I bet the systems can easily be adapted to handle more power.

          What I find curious is the fact that the limit is 400kj *NOT* specifically 80hp for 6.6 seconds. Why can’t we boost 160hp for 3.3 seconds, for example??

  3. I think everyone should have it, or noone.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      19th August 2009, 19:32

      I second that. A big part of the problem of no overtaking is that the lesser cars – Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and BMW – all ran it at some point. And the drivers naturally used it to defend.

      1. Yes, but Hamilton also used it to overtake in the last race – swings and roundabouts. Let’s not forget that a decent driver can eventually get past a KERS car if they push them into an error (as Button did to Hamilton at Bahrain).

  4. Ironically, I was having an email exchange today with a mate about this issue and how McLaren’s successful efforts to make KERS work for them is all in vain; we were convinced that it had been banned. Good news for McLaren for 2010, me thinks.

  5. keith can you post the link off the full press release with rules for 2010, can’t find them on the fia site.

    someone else also asked for the link in a previous topic.

      1. That link is for an old copy that includes the 2-tier system in it. Other articles have claimed that the actual regulations include no mention of the 2-tier system anywhere.

    1. Sure, have done.

  6. In my opinion this is good. It is not hard to conceive that more than a few of the other teams who do not use kers at the moment will seriously consider developing it over the next coming months after knowing this. Personally I will be intrigued to see what designs they come up with, if any, and to see how they differ from the existing systems on display.

    I think that kers has made the races interesting and drastically changes driver’s strategies after the first corner often providing an intriguing race.

  7. george caplin
    19th August 2009, 19:31

    What chance one of the new teams using Flybrid’s (much cheaper) off-the-shelf system to go with their off-the-shelf Cosworth engines?

    1. It will be interesting to see this, also to see what Cosworth teams are going to do.

  8. So right now, Vettel has a hard time getting by or keeping a KERS car behind him. As a result there is a little bit more passing. However, if all the cars use it next year, they will just use KERS to defend, suceed then we are back to more passing. In other words, its pointless.
    If they could keep their finger pressed down the on the button for an entire straight, then I would be impressed, but 6.6 seconds per lap isn’t enough. If the could find a way to be able to use it at ever corner and straight, then yeah use it, but until then it should stay out of the sport, end of story.

    1. I agree 6.6 sec is not enough, I thought that the power and time were to be increased (before they canned it ). Now it’s back but in the same limited form.

      1. It shouldnt be artificially constrained (to 80hp for 6.6 sec)at all if we’re going to have it on the cars, in my opinion.

      2. HounslowBusGarage
        19th August 2009, 21:57

        But limiting it is the point isn’t it?
        If the use of KERS is limited to a a few seconds a lap and you use it to pass me going up the Kemmel (sic) Straight, then I can use mine to pass you going into the Bus Stop, and you can’t defend because you’ve used up your lap’s worth.
        The intention is to make the racing more exciting in an artificial sort of way.

  9. i know what will happen next. All the non-kers team will start begging mercedes for a customer fit. cuz merc are way ahead of everybody else in kers development. its going to be mclaren vs ferrari again in 2010. All the tinpot teams will return back to where they belong, at the bottom, will be interesting to see what williams do. i dunno if they are sandbagging about their flywheel kers.

    1. I am happy for McLaren, but if they go too much faster than Ferrari, Lou will make a big fuss and have it cancelled.

    2. My guess is that Williams will be back in FOTA before next year (Using KERS as a bargaining chip)

      1. That’s what exactly i was thinking, their system is too radical & too complicated to be functional in a formula 1 car. They might just use their kers as you correctly point” a bargain” to get back into FOTA.

  10. I thought we always knew that KERS would still be in the regulations for 2010. The question was always would the teams choose amongst themselves to have a gentlemans agreement to use it or not.

    That’s not really clear with teams outside FOTA now.

    1. A Gentleman’s agreement? In Formula One?

      You’ve got to be joking.

  11. My understanding is the FIA weren’t going to remove it from the regulations, it is a gentleman’s agreement within FOTA not to run it (I think the non-FOTA teams were also involved and are party to this agreement).

    Until I hear something from FOTA saying otherwise, I expect all teams not to use KERS in 2010 even though they technically have a choice.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. However what would Williams’ stance be?

      1. It was decided after Williams was thrown out of the FOTA so they signed no gentleman’s agreement about it. McLaren is allready regretting it and I know Massa is really enthusiastic about it so I think we could see the reversal of this decision. Also, I think this is a good change as KERS was discarded by FOTA too hastly before it reached its full potential.

      2. Williams is still looking into finishing their KERS system. I can’t imagine they would put in that effort just for the few remaining races.

        Would be cool if they put it on the car for 2010.

        1. There is also a possibility to sell the system to London Tube who saw a great practical application for it in trains…

        2. Williams are also the only team to have gone down the flywheel route rather than capacitors for storing the energy. Will be interesting to see how the two systems compare.

  12. Good news. KERS technology is getting better and apart from toyota (who might collaborate with Williams) all the other current F1 engine builders already have it working. Also, it’s the only technology current developed in F1 that will actually have a very practical purpose in every day life. Something they claim to strive for, but rarely achieve.

    I’m really curious to what Williams will be able to pull off. Their supposedly lighter and equally powerful mechanical solution sounds nothing short of awesome compared to the battery packs, but their constant hyping of the system without ever having used it is beginning to get very old.

    I wish they’d remove the power output limit though. This could be a field in which engineers can actually compete in very effectively. Let’s see which team can transfer the amount of breaking into the most Joules, without melting the car or sending a flywheel spinning through the body panels.

    As for nullifying the effect of KERS when everybody has it, I doubt it. It will come down a lot to tactics and natural racing ability.

    1. I second that. Let them squeeze all the power they can out of their KERS.

    2. Yes, this sounds like a good idea to me. I wish Williams could end up having the best system of all.
      Also, if we limit the total diameter of brakes, we will have more passing.
      Lets have more of everything !!!

  13. I’m pleased to see KERS stay in F1 next year. It has done more to create interesting racing this year than the much-vaunted aerodynamic changes have.

    You complain that cars are impossible to overtake and then you advocate the system which is the main reason for this problem?

    1. the main reason for the lack of overtaking is certainly not kers. how many on-track lead changes were there in 2008? not many, that’s for sure.

    2. Oh come on now, KERS is not the main reason we aren’t seeing overtaking this year. Only 4 cars are running KERS at the moment, in a field of 20 – the other 16 aren’t exactly passing each other at every corner either.

      I will agree that it may be contributing a little bit to the problem. But for ever KERS car defending a position with the button, there’s a KERS car making a passing move with the button, so it sort of evens out in my opinion.

  14. If they continue to limit the output of KERS then drivers will just continue to use them in defensive situations. Example: Massa keeping Vettel behind him for a whole race.
    Let KERS be used to its full potential or not at all.

  15. This is a major boon to silver and red, who will be fielding the best systems next year. Brawn, and other jumped-up backmarkers, are going to be eating dust once more.

  16. I would like to be a fly on the wall in the next FOTA meeting, with Ferrari and Mclaren trying to justify the doing a u-turn on the gentlemans agreement that was made, whilst Brawn et all shake their fists.

    It does make me wonder how democratic there descisions are, do they need unanimous agreement from all teams in such cases?

    If so they may not be able to back track

  17. Yay, I’m so pleased it’s staying. I am quite surprised it is seeing as McLaren are the masters at using it, especially Lewis. McLaren and to a lesser extent Ferrari, have proved its value as an overtaking tool and as a new technology. Gosh, they got something right in F1 for a change. Wonders never cease … although I will reserve a slight amount of judgement until I actually see it on cars in 2010.

  18. Jamie Skella
    20th August 2009, 0:51

    I agree 100% – we saw some amazing battles at the start of the season (Hamilton and Webber) thanks to KERS, and both Ferrari and McLaren have been able to make some valuable race moves with it aboard… Massa’s ability to fend of the cars behind him, and Hamilton jumping numerous places at race-start.

    Keep it. It’s exciting.

  19. yeah it should either be everyone must have it or no one at all. with everyone having it, we will see cars using up different amounts of their KERS at different times to pass and then be repassed by the guy who didn’t use his kers. brill!

  20. Mixed feelings its expensive so if the cost can be cut I think it will be ok

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