F1 2010 rules: KERS to stay

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

  1. StEve said on 19th August 2009, 22:43

    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

  2. S Hughes said on 19th August 2009, 23:24

    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.

  3. Jamie Skella said on 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.

  4. sato113 said on 20th August 2009, 1:04

    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!

  5. wasiF1 said on 20th August 2009, 2:11

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

  6. Tomcat173 said on 20th August 2009, 2:32

    hmmm… KERS was introduced for political reasons, ie so that Formula 1 was seen to be moving with the times and becoming more green.

    That said, I dont think it has worked as well as it could have, because
    a) teams didnt have enough time to develop them for 2009,
    b) introducing the tech favours bigger teams that are more capable to introduce such a complex system, and
    c) the benefit doesnt outweigh the drawbacks (even if you bump up the minimum weight

    Of course the FIA were going to keep the thing in place for 2010, otherwise KERS would’ve been an exercise in burning money. Fingers crossed it does something to improve the racing!

  7. Yukirin Boy said on 20th August 2009, 4:21

    If it makes the car better/faster , every team will have it.
    There is no need to make it compulsory.

    wings, diffusers (of any kind) are not compulsory, but every team has them.

  8. Hakka said on 20th August 2009, 5:43

    Any word on clarifying the diffuser regulation? Or have they settled with the current one?

  9. This present situation of KERS or no KERS leaves me a little bit baffled.
    The present system as I understand it, and as Toyota stated, is not a system that could be used on commercial cars and vehicles.
    The systems have cost a fortune to develop and at the moment there is only two, maybe even only one, system that works reliably.
    If it is made compulsory for 2011, where do the teams that do not have a KERS system get it from. Some probably can get it from there present engine supplier. But what of the new, compulsory Ford engine teams, who will fund and supply these teams? (The FIA?)
    And how does this all fit in with the spending limit?
    Or does the FIA step in and specify a single system used by all teams, as per the electronic controls.

    To sum up, as far as I see it. It’s the wrong specification, and it’s too expensive in the present financial climate.

  10. Ronman said on 20th August 2009, 7:45

    I think KERS is interesting, not worth the money in the first place, but interesitng. however the money has been spent, and if it’s totally dropped it would be a shame to have all this time and development flushed down the toilet… so i say let them improve it, and hopefully all the teams should have it by next year so they can be on the same page…

  11. Ronman said on 20th August 2009, 7:48

    I think KERS is interesting, not worth the money in the first place, but interesting. however the money has been spent, and if it’s totally dropped it would be a shame to have all this time and development flushed down the toilet… so i say let them improve it, and hopefully all the teams should have it by next year so they can be on the same page…

  12. gabal said on 20th August 2009, 9:51

    I think there are several ”off the shelf” systems allready available so teams can use them for a fixed cost. As far as I understood (I just scan-read the rules) KERS rules remain the same as they are this year so KERS is not compulsory for everybody.

  13. This could be a real test of FOTA unity especially if a non-FOTA team decides to use KERS next year.

    KERS was never removed from the FIA regulations for 2010, it was just that the FOTA teams agreed to stop using it.

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/77012

    In this article from a month ago, Martin Whitmarsh says that even though it gives McLaren an advantage and it is still in the 2010 regulations they will stop using next year because that was what FOTA agreed.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if FOTA announce they will use KERS after all next year now it is shown to be a race winner.

  14. BNK Racing said on 20th August 2009, 10:16

    since the new aeros have made a 0.5% increase in passing they should just go back to the 08 spec cars and put KERS in them. at least that way i dont have to look at the ugly 09/10 spec cars.

  15. Bring back ground effect cars I say (like with the new F2) – that would solve the problem of dirty air in one fell swoop.

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