Should KERS come back in 2011? (Poll)

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton won at Singapore in a KERS-equipped McLaren last year
Lewis Hamilton won at Singapore in a KERS-equipped McLaren last year

The F1 teams agreed between them not to use Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) this year.

But now they are considering bringing them back next year – either by letting teams develop their own systems, or making one specification system available to everyone.

Would you like to see the return of the power boost button in 2011?


Having a boost of power available on-demand can help drivers overtake.

Technology to recover energy lost in deceleration is increasingly common in road cars and, with growing pressure on fuel supplies, is likely to remain so in the future.

This makes it an attractive technology for car manufactures who want to be involved in F1.


The teams agreed not to use KERS this year to keep costs down. Reintroducing it may widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots – especially if teams are allowed free development of KERS.

Electrical KERS also brings safety complications for those handling the cars in the pits and marshals who may have to handle damaged KERS-equipped cars in the event of an accident.

I say

If F1 is going to remain a place for innovation in motorsport, then it’s hard to argue against a technology that has sound environmental credentials, is easily understood by the wider public, and could improve the quality of racing. Especially if ‘spec’ units can be made available to teams at low cost.

You say

Should KERS come back in 2011? Cast your vote and have your say below.

Should KERS come back in 2011?

  • Yes - teams should have free choice of which KERS they use (59%)
  • Yes - but all teams should have to use the same specification KERS (23%)
  • No - I don't want to see KERS devices return to Formula 1 next year at all (18%)

Total Voters: 2,232

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139 comments on “Should KERS come back in 2011? (Poll)”

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  1. Definitely it should be in F1.F1 is supposedly the pinnacle of motorsport technology.
    How can that be if it doesn’t use KERS

    1. if evryone has the kers it is pointless money waste if just some teams are able to have kers i would be unfair

      1. They should not restrict the uses of KERS, it should be unlimited depending how much the cars brakes produce on every laps.

      2. if everyone has engines then its a pointless waste of money too?

    2. I think the FIA is a bit misguided when it comes to KERS. They are trying to use it solve two problems. First one is passing, second one is being green.

      Personally I don’t think the passing problem is actually that much of problem. After all if there is no passing mean each team is pushing the absolute limit, and are so closely matched. Additionally there are other ways to solve passing besides adding a push to pass button.

      As for being green, I don’t think KERS is the right solution. I think a better solution would be to free up the engine rules, and allow teams decide what sort of engine to use, what sort of fuel to use, and what sort of hybrid system to use. Some rules would be required though and off the top of my hat they would be to limit the maximum number of revs allowed from the engine unit (being the engine plus any hybrid system) and limit the rates of rev change (i.e. the minimum time it takes the engine to go from idling to maximum revs).

      With the freedom of engine type, fuel choice and hybrid type teams will be able to come with innovative solutions to enable their cars to be more fuel efficient, use renewable energy sources, and then some of this innovation might actually be transferable to regular road cars.

      1. I say yes but there needs to be some rule tweeks.

        At the moment they can push the button every lap which makes it hard to overtake because the car in front can just do the same thing. They need to bring some strategy into the picture.

        Limit the amount of times you can use it to 20 or 25 times a race, that way if you use it efficently then you will have some left over while the car in front may have to defend with none left at all. In my opinion this is how we can get some good racing.

        1. This.
          With x seconds every lap everyone will use it at the same 2 or 3 straights, rendering it worthless because there will be no overtaking.
          If you have x amounts of seconds per race (not x amounts of time), this will add another tactical element to the race

      2. i agree mostly. like how there is a limit to how many tyres the teams have over a weekend, but they can use them mostly how they like, why not let them make the engine as they see fit, just with a maximum amount of fuel allowed.
        same with pit stops – let them make as many or as few as they want, to change some or all tyres, petrol, wings, whatever.
        i think there are to many regulations around, plus i like the idea of big v10s racing small turbo charged cars

  2. I voted Yes, free choice.

  3. Ned Flanders
    24th May 2010, 16:32

    I reckon spec KERS is the way to go in 2011 for now. Clearly, F1 is still struggling finacially (or at least everyone but Bernie Ecclestone is…), and adding the cost of developing KERS to team budgets might just push a few teams over the edge.

    The new regulations are set for 2013 aren’t they? So why not wait till then to reintroduce a full blown ‘KERS war’? Hopefully, by then, a few new or returning manufacturers will be on the grid, the financial crisis will be a thing of the past, and KERS will be lighter and more powerul than they are today

  4. I say NO to KERS, just because it has a “video game” feeling I don’t wish to see in real racing.

    1. How is it like a video game when there’s actual kinetic energy converted, stored and released again through the drivetrain? Especially with a badass flywheel like Williams’ solution.

      I’m all for it, it makes a great deal of sense and it’s something that should be increasingly less restrictive in terms of power output. A standard solution would be pretty pointless.

      1. On top of that, “push to pass” buttons and engine control schemes designed around balancing fuel economy and adding temporary power have been around since at least 2004. Champ Car and IRL have both used systems that have the same on track purpose, although theirs is based in engine settings. If F1 wants to stay the leader, it would be worthwhile to add something like this in a technologically relavent way, i.e. KERS. While most “superfans” might not find this to be too impresive, casual viewers won’t really notice it but will experience a bit more thrill. Of course, this is F1, not IRL, a spec KERS would be hideous. I’ve always felt that they needed to limit the amount of power stored and greatly increase the amount of power allowed to be released so that a car can’t use it EVERY lap (1 every 20 kms would seem ideal to me).

  5. From a technological-advancement perspective, it doesn’t make sense for a spec unit, which is why I voted for the first option.
    Over the last decade or so, we have seen more and more Formula One developed technology passing down onto normal, affordable road cars. If KERS has been brought into Formula One for a green-initiative, which it has to an extent, then they need to stick to the point of doing so; to advance the technology. Thus, the teams need to let loose with their budget to develop KERS.

    Regarding the costs issue (i.e. the argument for a spec unit), I find it a hard contradiction for Formula One to be a low-cost form of motorsport. I’ll be the first to admit that cost were spiralling out of control a few years back, marginalising the hope of any small teams of joining. But, Formula One has and always will be the pinnacle of technology. This costs money. Simple as, really.

    I just think there must be a better way to manage the spending of the teams, but letting Formula One remain true to it’s *technological* purpose. How? That’s a matter I can’t get my head around.

    Maybe capping the budgets for fundamental aspects of the car, but uncapping for anything designated by the FIA as been a development-worthy technology e.g. KERS, bio-fuels, long-term component reliability… etc?

    1. I fully agree with your opinions. It’s not as if it’s improving the show either.

    2. I see this the same way you do. Even more so, as the initial investments have been made, so a relatively low cost unit might be commonly available.

      Ferrari offers it for a good price to their engine customers, Renault offer theirs to everybody for a reasonable price as well. And McLaren/Mercedes have their system which can be available to FI as well.
      If Williams can bring their fly-wheel system forward, maybe packaging it to a deal with Cosworth, it might be a hit as well. So we might have 4 Kers systems and 4 engines competing in different combinations.

  6. Its’y KERS actually an outdated technology now anyway? I remember reading when it was introduced last year that it had been surpassed by other systems and wasnt really that pioneering a technology anyway.

    1. But that was mostly because of the limit on power being lower than systems allready in use on road cars like the prius

  7. Robert McKay
    24th May 2010, 16:40

    I say yes but only if one of two situations happens.

    (1) Development is free, i.e. whatever you can generate you can re-use – no limits on how long you can deploy the boost for or how much energy you can store, as we had in 2009.

    (2) If we’re going the fixed, cheap, spec-route, then DON’T say “you can deploy it only twice a lap, every lap”. DO say “you can deploy it as many times per lap as you want, up to a total of X times over the course of a Grand Prix”. That way you minimise the risk of it always being used in the same places to attack/defend and thus everything cancelling out.

    1. Well said that man.

      KERS is fine as long as the limitations don’t make it artificial.

    2. Jarred Walmsley
      24th May 2010, 20:35

      Or, allow the teams to modify the power outage up to a maximum output over the total race, i.e. if the total power was fixed at say 200 hp then you could choose to have it deployed 50 times at 4hp each or 25 times at 8hp each, it will add even more excitement to the strategy

      1. Yes, your thought is lgical, but not the nubers and units. It would be certain amount of Joules used for a time x power equtaion. Lets say the limit would be 37.5 MJ – that could be used as 200hp for 250 seconds or 100hp for 500 seconds.
        And 4 or 8hp in an F1 car would make no difference. But your initial thinking was good and something I agree with.

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          24th May 2010, 22:08

          yes, although in my defense it was rather early over here when I was making up those numbers,

    3. That way you minimise the risk of it always being used in the same places to attack/defend and thus everything cancelling out.

      I’m not sure it does – from watching the IRL it just seems to make drivers save it all up for the end of the race (plus starts and restarts).

      Whereas if you can deploy KERS twice per lap, but a track has three straights, then things get interesting…

      1. Good point. But both of these rules could be implied – Boost is available twice per lap at an adjustable power to time ratio.

      2. Robert McKay
        24th May 2010, 23:03

        I agree in principle, but there’s not enough F1 circuits where you’d be able to say that.

        But what you absolutely must do is unbalance the situation so that if you have only two places per lap where it really makes sense to deploy KERS, you don’t have everyone doing it there each lap, every lap.

        Besides, what you might really want, if you really want to go balls out for the pass, is to hit the KERS 4, maybe 5 times on a single lap and really press the guy in front. Having the freedom in total number of uses could add something in that respect.

        Anyway the IRL guys generally have plenty of full course cautions to bunch things back up, which really affects their tactics with any kind of boost button. Taku Sato likes to do his bit too :D

    4. theRoswellite
      24th May 2010, 23:44

      I agree with Robert.

      If KERS is a worthy direction to go in, then the technology should be allowed to function to it’s full potential. It should not be introduced as a green but trivial adjunct to the “serious” efforts integral to the present engine and drive train.

      When it was initially introduced, I think the FIA was concerned that it would, in fact, work too well, and that a team might find themselves in possession of the winning edge, so it was seriously restricted as to how and when it could be utilized.

      While the FIA wanted to promote technology and, at the same time, be viewed as ecologically relevant, they certainly didn’t want to seriously restructure the basic drive-train model which has been in use since day one.

      KERS can be a positive step in racing technology that points in a direction away from an exclusively petroleum based model, toward the future.

      (I would, however, depart from Mr. McKays suggestions in one regard. I would not restrict in any way the use of the energy recovered by the KERS, neither in amount or in timing. Turn the engineers loose to develop the truly most sophisticated race car in the world.)

      1. Well said @ Robert McKay.

    5. I also agree, allow free development of the system and also allow teams to supply units to other teams.

      But… get rid of the boost button. Why not just have the power being directly applied to the drive train – generate the power under decelleration, apply the power during accelleration. That would remove the “you’ve pressed your boost button so I’ve gonna press mine” boringness and itegrates it into standard racing, just like any other power upgrade would.

      Combine that with reducing engine size so that the power remains more or less constant as KERS is developed to be stronger, and/or better fuel efficiency which allows smaller fuel tanks (less weight/easier packaging), then you’re actually talking about something with some environmental purpose and relevance to the real world without upsetting the racing.

  8. I voted yes – first option.

    But they must free up regulations governing KERS. Obtaining energy only from rear tyres and limiting it to just 400kJ is plain stupid. The moment these regulations are done away with, KERS will become attractive for more investments.

    Also, since KERS will be in an early stage of development, the gains obtained (in tenths of second / dollar of money invested) will be higher than those obtained by investing in aerodynamics. Simple law of diminishing returns!!

    This will automatically help in diverting funds away from aerodynamics thus allowing for close racing between cars and ultimately overtaking (thanks to KERS)

  9. 2011? absolutely not.

    i’ll accept that F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport should pioneer this kind of technology, but not when it is rolled out as a solution to the more pressing issue of the difficulty of overtaking – a problem which has its roots in the aero-dependancy of modern F1 cars NOT in the lack of a push-to-pass button.

    if F1 wants to spice up the show and make the racing interesting it needs to address the fundemental problem of aerodynamic vs mechanical grip and the ratio of the two that currently exists. once rules are in place to limit aerodynamic grip and cars can follow closely and pass more easily, then by all means add KERS.

    lets not let this sport become upside-down planes all hitting a KERS button at the same point lap after lap adding nothing but cost. F1 is about racing first and foremost, not solely the implementation of cutting edge tech.

    1. if F1 wants to spice up the show and make the racing interesting it needs to address the fundemental problem of aerodynamic vs mechanical grip and the ratio of the two that currently exists. once rules are in place to limit aerodynamic grip and cars can follow closely and pass more easily, then by all means add KERS.

      I agree that aerodynamics and excess grip is a bigger part of the reason why we don’t see more entertaining dry races. But I don’t understand the argument for delaying KERS because of that.

      1. I list two of the big reason for lack of overtacking(not in my view) as competitiveness and profesionalism.

        1. when the difference between laptimes is merely less than a second, and the two guys are driving at their respective limits and cannot pass.. then it shows how close they are.

          May seem boring, but those guys are driving on the limit, very close to each other continuously lap after lap, in the fastest cars available on earth.

          ultra high levels of professionalism are to “blame” but that is what makes F1 so special. People at the very top of their game pushing the very limits of what the technology can do for them.

      2. Simply because I see it being introduced as a measure to combat the lack of overtaking, thus detracting and distracting from the actual cause of the problem – aero.
        KERS seems to be this messiah, this answer to all F1’s troubles, but even if you rolled out KERS what benefit would it give the racing? Everyone would hit it at the same time. Give everyone and advantage and no one has the advantage. Back to square 1. another thing for an F1 driver to do in the cockpit. Alonso already driving with no hands – hows he going to push it?! ;)

        To me, its just not important. Aero is. The focus is being put on the wrong thing.

    2. theRoswellite
      25th May 2010, 3:56

      @ Matt Clinch

      Absolutely agree.

      KERS is important, but not especially because of the passing issue.

      It’s important as a means to maximizing the energy potential of the car. It is an example of sophistication, and thus has creditability as such. The entire car is supposedly an ongoing expression of mechanical sophistication in a racing application, and the KERS concept fits nicely.

      The question I have yet to see answered is: once everyone acquires a working KERS, which performs at a somewhat similar level, why will the passing car, using KERS, have an advantage over the car being passed, also having KERS available. Assuming you don’t artificially control the use of KERS, why wouldn’t they again “suffer” from the aerodynamic advantage presently enjoyed by the leading car?

  10. Yes KERS should be brought back. BUT! It should drive on the front wheels only with an electrical motor in each front wheel. In this way F1 would be relevant to the new breed of hybrid and electric cars that are the future for road cars. So, push the KERS button and you have 4WD and this would offer much more chance for drivers to overtake in different race situations with the increased traction available as well as the extra power. Instead off only offering an advantage on the the long straits where everybody uses in the same place anyway.

    1. Surely the rengineering invlolved would be far too expense, and simply too big a change to see happen at once.

  11. Yes, but only at low costs.
    Otherwise, no at all.

    Cut off wings and diffusers and you will not any kers to see overtakes.

    1. And GP2 will be the pinnacle of motorsport…

  12. Yes – only if KERS is used to aid overtaking – ie, a push-to-pass tool, not a push-to-defend tool

    1. how can you possibly regulate that?

      1. should be pretty straight forward for the stewards … of cos, leeway should be given if a driver is passing another car while under attack.

        anyway, my point is overtaking is already so difficult nowadays, any tool that makes it even harder shouldnt be introduced to the sport

  13. Yes, and preferably make it more powerful as an incentive to make F1 greener. Since it’s power is capped, this can easily be achieved.

  14. The thing I don’t like about KERS is that it could create false racing. I hated seeing cars pass last year because they just had to press a button, which is why if it does make a return I’d like to see it as a standardised piece of equipment. That way the use of it should, in theory, be more down to the tactics of the driver than the effectiveness of the system.

  15. If it’s gong to have real world relevance, would be best to make it a continuous feed back, not a push to pass button. I don’t mind having it back, so long as we avoid space invaders…

  16. “Having a boost of power available on-demand can help drivers overtake.”
    – OH RLY?!?!?

    Keith, are you joking or what?
    We’ve all seen what KERS does to overtaking possibilities. You must’ve absentminded typing this :)

    1. Care to explain why you don’t agree? Because we saw quite a few KERS-assisted overtaking moves last year.

      1. But this was only when a KERS-assisted car tried to overtake a defenseless non-KERS car.
        There were more instances of when a KERS car was impossible to overtake, even for a faster car, because it served as a defensive weapon that only hindered overtaking.
        Wasn’t it so?

        1. Not always. Remember Button passing Alonso at Malaysia? Or his pass on Hamilton at Bahrain? Those were two of the best overtaking moves of the year for me – precisely because a driver in a non-KERS car made it past a KERS-equipped one. I’m sure there are other examples.

          1. Exception proves the rule.
            And you obviously couldn’t deny what I said.

  17. Yes and it should be free in my opinion.
    I share Dan’s reservations where above he says about how it can create false racing and if standardised it’ll be more about driver tactics but I do think that if some cars have it and other don’t it is still a battle of tactics to some degree such as Mas in Spain 09 against Vet. OK, it can be easier to get round on straights but the other driver can still defend.
    Having a free system also I feel is better for designers; they can focus design on some other areas that they choose to rather than being forced to work on KERS. Red Bull and Brawn chose not to have it last year and it worked out fine for them and yet it still managed to help throw Ferrari and Mclaren in the mix. Cars are very similar at the minute (possibly minus the RBR which I swear has been made by witch craft) so this could set them apart.

    1. I agree to 100%.

      1. Thank you very much OEL.

    2. (possibly minus the RBR which I swear has been made by witch craft)

      I think you may be on to something there.
      It couldn’t possibly be anything else really could it??

      And I completely agree with everytinh you said 100% also.

  18. yes, but it needs to be much more powerful than before , longer lasting and this time all the teams need to have it so we’ll see more exciting battles rather than one car drifting past another with ease like Raikonen at spa last year

  19. Yes without a doubt, but it must be introduced on every car. To clarify in the voting, i’m not fussed if each car has the same system or not (like whether or not the Williams flywheel or the McLaren/Ferrari battery system is used) but each car should have it.

    It could also be used to spice up racing. Yeah it’ll never happen, but giving those outside the top 10 in qualifying 1 extra second of boost per lap would be great.

  20. Bigbadderboom
    24th May 2010, 17:03

    Absolutly YES…
    The fact is that F1 needs to progress and survive in the real world. It needs to demonstrate to both its fans and its financers a will to move on, and although those that call themselves purists would argue it brings in a video game feel, unfortunatley the next set of fans are the video game generation and will be the fans that the sponsors will want to appeal to. Of course the other appeal for such developments is keeping the enviromentalists happy with green initiatives.
    I think as long as it development is open with no standard unit (Pointless to restrict innovation) and output from the unit is restricted, to basically encourage efficency and reliability development rather than power development, then we would see real world applications as well, and F1 will stay at the top of development in motorsport.

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