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. 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!

  2. 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.

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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

  11. Theres the limit of 400kJ per lap that can be used per lap, but is that also limited to a maximum output of 80hp at any one time? Or can they go for say 120hp over a shorter time?

  12. I think KERS should be a good thing but not under the current (and restricting) rules.

    Under the current scenario, KERS only gives and advantage just because not all teams are using it.

    I would prefer to see more technical freedom for all teams: Ban Revs limit, engine specs… just keep comsumption and durability (8 engines for the season seems pretty much ok).

  13. graham228221 said on 20th August 2009, 12:41

    erm… we already knew that the regulations would allow KERS in 2010, but that it would continue to be optional.

    we also already knew that FOTA have a gentleman’s agreement to not use KERS during 2010. as far as i know, they haven’t indicated that this has changed.

    so… what’s changed here?

  14. Shagrathian (@shagrathian) said on 20th August 2009, 13:26

    I assume that was a strategical move from FIA to see teams like McLaren, Ferrari, Renault -and fingers crossed Williams- on the top again.
    Honda was developing the system at the 2008 season. What happened then? I read they put a lot of money on it. Nobody talks about it now.

  15. John H said on 20th August 2009, 13:46

    I thought that it was always going to be in the regs, but all the FOTA members agreed to not run it anyway?

    I still don’t think McLaren will be running it because of what MW said to get FOTA unified, and he seems to be a man of his word.

    Am I missing something?

  16. Derek said on 20th August 2009, 14:19

    McLaren and Ferrari will quite rightly have an advantage with Kers next year, they spent the money and stuck with it. Now they are starting to reap the reward, and will be way ahead on it’s development. Although optional for now, other teams will have to use it eventualy or be left behind. Kers will get lighter and better and the Kers driver will learn to use it to their best advantage. It’s a shame that it will stay at 82bhp for 6.6 secs, I think it was due to go up to 100bhp next year.

    • UnicornF1 said on 20th August 2009, 15:27

      I think KERS is going to evolute like this:
      2009 – 400kJ for 6.6s
      2011 – 800kJ
      2013 – 1600kJ on four wheels!!!

      I am not sure if the duration of 6.6s is going to be increased after 2011.

      I believe, that if they keep up with KERS up to 2013 then on 2014 or 2015 it will be banned :p

      • Maksutov said on 20th August 2009, 18:31

        I agree with your evolution projections.

        Additionally, the real problem and issue that I see could arise as years go by with KERS, is that there is no legitimate way for FIA to control and/or monitor the true output of KERS during a race period.

        With so much electronics, and understanding the electronics and electrics myself, there can be plenty of room for exploiting the KERS system in terms of its output regulation. Its output can be programmed and regulated and changed at any time with no knowledge of it ever happening. Because KERS is relatively new, boundaries have not yet been put in place on the use nor evolution of KERS technology. Its technology probably isn’t even understood by the FIA as yet, specially because its constantly evolving and changing. When these exploiting possibilities, complications and issues are eventually realized KERS will be banned.

  17. Isuraeru said on 20th August 2009, 16:58

    Yesssss!!!,
    Without questions the KERS is a boost on the race. We pass from a boring start to finish race to a boring second lap to finish race.
    That’s how they are improving the race, the problem is the rest of the laps…

  18. Steve_P said on 21st August 2009, 0:20

    I was really interested in the Williams KERS system at the start of the season. Williams is the only team that made the flywheel KERS system. I really wish the team could have gotten enough reliability out of their KERS to run it. I’d really like to see if Williams got any difference in performance out of their system. Does anyone know what is going on with the Williams flywheel KERS system?

  19. martinb said on 21st August 2009, 22:41

    I’m wondering if KERS will help with fuel consumption? It ought to, just like with hybrid cars.

    Now, with no refuelling, cars will have to carry heavier fuel loads for longer. If they can cut just a couple of kgs off their fuel needs, they will get this benefit every lap of the race, and it might compensate for any drawbacks.

    And I’m surprised they didn’t allow more energy storage. I think bigger KERS is the way to go.

  20. All that hard work (and money) Ferrari and Mclaren threw in for the KERS systems isn’t useless then? More one-sided advantage for the giants…
    Its actually funny to see Kimi whose being chased by Fisico in a blazing Force India could just pull away and create massive distance in just a second, all thanks to him having KERS while the driver behind doesn’t… I guess we won’t be having that next year? =P

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