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Red Bull using “start only” KERS?
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Red Bull using “start only” KERS?
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Mar 2011   |  10:48 am GMT  |  224 comments

After qualifying today it became apparent that Red Bull’s drivers did not use KERS during qualifying.

Asked why not, Mark Webber said that the team had internal reasons why not.

But tonight it has emerged that the team may have a lightweight KERS system, which is designed for use off the startline only. This is necessary because KERS confers about 7 metres advantage on a car using it over one that isn’t on the start straight.

Without any kind of KERS, the Red Bull would be vulnerable off the startline. Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren starting alongside Sebastian Vettel on the front row and would have the advantage.

This “start only” system would give a gain in terms of weight distribution and packaging because such a system requires only a small battery, which is trickle charged, compared to the 20 kilo system that Red Bull’s rivals use. One of the reasons why the normal KERS batteries are large and heavy is for reasons of rapid charging.

It appears, from investigations, that at least one team currently without KERS is working on a similar concept.

However, Red Bull may need their full KERS system later in the season, when the other leading teams get close to them on downforce. The 4/10ths it gives will come in useful then.

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224 Comments
  1. Frankie says:

    Newey is trickier than a barrel full of monkeys, I bet there is more to come!

    This makes a lot of sense if you have a car that quick. The inferences from this go a lot further, because if the drivers never used it in qualification, why not?

    That would indicate to me that this is a one off device with no charging facility during the race? Is it possible to have the KERS fully charged in the garage for the start of the race? That would get rid of a heap of other complications, even making a gas or hydraulic system possibly viable?

    1. AdamF184 says:

      Im not convinced about this. If you believe what your hear on the car radio then it does charge/harvest out on the track. In FP1 Vettel was told to use KERS urgently so the unit didnt over heat/charge. I dont think they would go this far just to throw people of!?

      1. Frankie says:

        You could be right, I am only basing my assumption upon the fact RBR never used the device in qualification. But further to that, why would they need to even have the KERS system on during qualification if they have no intentions of using it? Unless qualifying is used to charge the system for the race itself?

        I get the feeling from that instruction to Vettel that racing was causing the system problems due to the cars increase in temperature. That can come about with a variety of different systems, not necessarily electrical.

      2. Weeraz says:

        Well they would have to have it on for qualifying because the cars can’t be worked on post qually right?

      3. Paul Kirk says:

        Couple of things I don’t understand—–(1)What would be the advantage of having a lighter kers system when all cars have to comply to the minimum weight rule (and the weight distribution rule) and I’d be surprised if RB was over weight! (2) Doesn’t the kers have to be charged by the car during the braking phase to be legal, as opposed to being charged in the pits by the mains power? If not it’s not a true energy recovery system.
        PK.

    2. Owen Li says:

      Yep.
      They may only need a disposable battery!

      1. wayne says:

        Surely not. This would not really be a Kinetic Energy Recovery System in line with the device’s required spec would it?

    3. Andy M says:

      I thought the whole point of KERS, was that it recycles ‘waste’ energy generated by the car itself, and not a device charged by plugging it into the mains.

      I feel a rule change coming along….

      1. Galapago555 says:

        In fact, KERS means Kinetic Energy RECOVERY System, as describe in article 5 of the FIFA 2011 Sporting Regulations:

        “ARTICLE 5: ENGINES AND KINETIC ENERGY RECOVERY SYSTEMS”

        If it doesn’t recover energy, then it’s not a KERS.

        Ergo that system, if existent, should be deemed illegal, IMHO:

        “5.2.1 The use of any device, other than the 2.4 litre, four stroke engine described in 5.1 above and one KERS, to power the car, is not permitted.”

        And no rule change should be needed…

      2. Galapago555 says:

        A device called KERS that uses a little battery, which is trickle charged, is not a KERS but an electric engine. And it’s not permitted.

      3. RickeeBoy says:

        It’s looking like a fundamental package by Red Bull which makes it faster. The McLaren is fast but its got KERS and it long very long to incorporate the KERS added cooling and produce a package which works … and they have done that very well but its still big, unwieldy not what you want from a F1 car.

        The Red Bull has probably dispensed with KERS charging and and Kers cooling and therefore it only needs a smaller car, smaller radiators, actually a tiny car which turns corners far better. Notice tiny air inlet, tiny side pods.

        Everybody is having SIZE problems from the additional requirements of KERS.

        The RB7 may just be a pretty, aerodynamic small, have it’s COG situated really low , simple, uncomplicated package which handles really well and consequently it doesn’t ruin tyres. When you add additional weight(KERS) it lengthens the wheelbase as the FIA specifically demanded a Front / rear weight ration to be the same for all cars. That could be simple reason that RB7 is mega quick – It just a back to basics, well packaged small light F1 car without any big extra’s of KERS and all its weight in the right place.

      4. Damian J says:

        “Flexi KERS”? Another media storm over this?

      5. Ikertzeke says:

        I was thinking the same thing, this is not KERS, kinetic energy recovery system, this is an energy system, ES.

      6. Oliver N. says:

        +1

      7. frosty says:

        Could it not charge on the warm up lap?
        But the battery is a one use only type, so useful for the start and not much else.?

      8. brendan says:

        yep if it does recharge its self its not an engerg REcovery system is it? and should be banned instantly.

      9. brendan says:

        doesnt*

      10. Ross Dixon says:

        Exactly…. THIS IS NOT KERS!!! (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) Basically they have a battery and a motor thats it.

        Anyone else see this as a potential for breaking the rules……. I suppose it depends on how it is written

      11. Andy Fov says:

        James doesn’t say that Red Bull’s device doesn’t work that way, he says it’s designed only to be used at the start.

        I’m guessing it recovers enough energy to be deemed legal, but not enough to be any real use once the race is underway.

      12. Jo Torrent says:

        +1

    4. mtb says:

      Yes, KERS can be fully charged in the garage. This is how cars start the race with the system fully charged. Having the system fully charged when the car enters the garage poses safety hazards.

    5. wayne says:

      RBR must be counting on being so fast through the corners that no car will get close enough to use the ‘advantage’ of KERS on the straights. On a slightly seperate note, KERS as a green initiative is a joke (much the same as battery powered road cars are a joke). Those batteries are full of foul environmentally unfriendly goop and disposal is a real issue. We are all being taken for fools with the whole KERS token green gesture. Now McLaren’s F-Duct actually was environmentally friendly and offered up almost the same results and it was banned…. Someone, amnyone explain the madness to me!

      1. Nick F says:

        I think it depends what battery chemistry you are talking about. my limited understanding is that lithium based batteries are fairly benign and can be recycled anyway.

        Basically the way I see it is that the rules make the system kind of silly and not the concept of the system itself. They are only allowed to use a small amount of energy each lap. This amount of energy has just been made up by some rule maker. the cars could use more and go faster. i don’t know if they have made the batteries smaller for this season, but in 2009 i remember watching the drivers on the start/finish straight. They would use KERS up aproaching the line and then immediately get the 100% KERS back. This wasn’t magic, it’s because they never used 100% up really. It’s like them introducing a rule that said you had to drive only reving to 10,000 rpm, but then for 6 seconds each lap you could go to max revs. It’s kind of a weird rule.

      2. Paul Kirk says:

        I totally agree, Nick, and plus there’s the manufactureing process that also creates emissions.
        PK.

      3. Sebee says:

        Two words.

        Air car.

        Bring it already Tata!

      4. J says:

        Batteries are not filled with “goop”. They are solid blocks of valuable metals that can and are recycled back into more batteries or other products. There’s no reason not to keep using the same lithium over and over just like we use the same aluminum over and over.

    6. RIDER says:

      Newey is aero, the engineers would have thought of this.

      1. Paul says:

        Lithium benign?! Not by its very elemental nature in the first instance, and secondly half of China is being ripped up and devestated for mineral deposits.

  2. Dan says:

    James, with this system, why couldn’t Vettel have had one lap with KERS in Q3 (from having charged it in the Garage)?

    1. unoc vII says:

      That is exactly what I’m thinking… if the system is as James mentions, and the only reason for not using it in Quali is because it requires charge from a garage rather than braking, then why didn’t they just do the prerace charge just before quali?

      1. unoc vII says:

        I’VE SOLVED IT! I believe…

        Facts first:
        RBR used in during their long stints in FP2 hence it works on a lap by lap basis like other kers and isn’t a charge at the wall job like James is saying.

        INSTEAD: (here is where I’m thinking…)

        The RBR Kers, due to it’s positioning and the way Newey packs the car together for aero means that when the engine is turned up to MAX for quali full speed runs and the KERS is used then overheating issues arise.

        In the long stint it didn’t matter as they weren’t running the engine hard, and hence it was slightly cooler and so they could run KERS without the KERS or ENGINE facing heating difficulties.

        On the start line it shoud be fine. THe engine will be turned up on the grid, the parade lap is slow and the engine will be nice a cool comparitively. As they put it on the grid, waiting for teh start lights to go out the engine is on max and KERS activated for use. THe area which is getting hot hasn’t had time to get hot enough yet because the engine has been doing bugger all on the parade lap and before that nothing sitting on the grid.

        They start, the KERS is used, ENGINE is on max, temperature shoots up, but by the time he gets anywhere near the top of zone the KERS has already been used and the engine can be used as per normal on max until they turn it back down.

        During the race KERS can be used when the engine is set to normal just as they did in FP2.

        The results of this setup mean that
        1) KERS can’t be used when running hard in quali, when not running hard it doesn’t matter anyway so it doesn’t work in Quali. TICK
        2) It is best off the line as it can only otherwise run when the engine isn’t turned up. TICK
        3) THe engine being turned up adds more than 0.3 seconds while KERS doesn’t, hence it makes sense for fastest laps. TICK

        Any opinions on my theory?

        (btw, side note, gresat seeing you on ONE yesterday, including laughing at the greg rust on the shell sim)

      2. Nick F says:

        Maybe.

        Another reason whey you might not want to use it is the problems you have with breaking. I can imagine that a slightly unstable car under braking could drop 3 tenths of a second and negate the advantage of KERS.

    2. Nando says:

      Perhaps the battery can only take one-charge to minimise the weight. They wouldn’t be able to change it under parce-ferme conditions presumably.

  3. We saw with Brawn in 2009 that KERS is not required to win so long as the rest of the package is right. We’ve also seen numerous times it can be more trouble than it’s worth.

    It strikes me as a bizarre piece of kit anyway given everyone has it and everyone uses it as pretty much the same points on the track.

    This sounds like an excellent half way house between the advantages and disadvantages – I presume Red Bull couldn’t use both this and a conventional KERS on the same car?

    1. mtb says:

      Technical Regulation 5.2.1

      “The use of any device, other than the 2.4 litre, four stroke engine described in 5.1 above and one KERS, to power the car, is not permitted.”

    2. Matt Devenish says:

      I think the idea behind KERS “lite” (if that what it even is?!) is that it saves weight of carrying the full system; additional heavier batteries, wiring, cooling ect.

      I suppose the best recent comparison to this concept, was Jenson Button and McLaren running the F-duct at Monza and everyone else choosing to use the standard rear-wing. Jenson was lightening off the start, but a sitting duck at the end of the straights.

      1. Matt Devenish says:

        I’ve just thought, how does the minimum weight with KERS work this year? Wasn’t the minimum weight increased by 30kg to accomodate the system and is there a rule that limits ballast too?

      2. RIDER says:

        There is till a minimum weight for the car . Weight distribution is better and lower

  4. Michael MacDonald says:

    How much does the added weight change the aerodynamics of the car? It is possible Red Bull won’t put the rechargeable KERS in this season if the aero benefits of having a smaller unit are bit enough.

    1. Michael MacDonald says:

      Using the KERS only at the start would surely mean there is no boost in the event of a safety car. That is surely a disadvantage as cars behind can boost past! There must be a slow charge for the batteries so it can be used a few times during the race, but not every lap.

      1. James says:

        Maybe it’s charged every time the front wing flexes? ;)

      2. Relativity says:

        In that case they will be 100% charged all the time :-)

      3. Thomas says:

        Yea you could probably charge the battery slowly with a small magnet inside/outside the flywheel. Its common on outboard engines, takes almost no space and is light.

      4. Peter So says:

        I completely agree. Yet I believe only half of the story is told. Let’s see what happen next. I have a strong feeling that Mclaren will be the team to beat in a few races time.

      5. Nick F says:

        why?

        you think they will be able to get some of the ideas in their more complex exhaust to work and bring them back to the car?

        …or another reason?

    2. mtb says:

      “How much does the added weight change the aerodynamics of the car?”

      It makes no difference whatsoever, as aerodynamic forces are influenced solely by the spatial dimensions of components. (i.e. length, width and height) Depending on how the airflows underneath the bodywork, the installation/absence of a KERS unit might make some difference but it will not be significant.

      1. Matthew says:

        That sounds simplistic. The weight and how it is distributed would provide a slightly different airflow profile under breaking/acceleration that would have to be accounted for in the suspention

    3. ACB says:

      The weight benefits overall performance, not so much aero. The lighter the car the better, and that is Newey’s trademark above all else, is to get a car’s weight down to nothing.

  5. Tony says:

    Hmmmm, clever stuff… but is this even legal? I mean its supposed to be a Kinetic Energy Recovery System, if it doesnt recover Kinetic energy then its essentially just an electric boost system. Methinks others will complain, wonder if it’ll get banned?

    1. mtb says:

      Technical Regulation 5.2.3

      “The maximum power, in or out, of any KERS must not exceed 60kW.
      Energy released from the KERS may not exceed 400kJ in any one lap.
      Measurements will be taken at the connection to the rear wheel drivetrain.”

      If these requirements are met, then the system is legal.

      Whether a system that is designed to be employed once conforms to the environmental intentions of KERS is open to debate.

      Banning a system that is only used to be employed once per race will attract a fair deal of criticism, as installation of KERS, and employment of an installed system, are voluntary at the moment. Having a system that is designed to be employed once has its drawbacks, as the power advantage and extra straight line speed (due to the DRS) that a rival in close pursuit will enjoy could haunt any team using such a system.

      Given that the longer term intention is most likely to lower engine power output and place an emphasis on concepts such as KERS to account for the power shortfall, such a system could be short-sighted.

      1. Nick F says:

        probably the 2013 system will be developed by the engine supplier so maybe renault or audi.

    2. Peter says:

      That’s what I was thinking. I don’t know if it is legal. I think it’s something the other teams should query about.

    3. Lilla My says:

      My thought exactly. If it doesn’t RECOVER energy but is charged in the garage, then it’s not a RECOVERY system. There must be something more and trickier in it.

    4. Ross Dixon says:

      Totally agree, this is not KERS!

    5. Nick Tabram says:

      Good point. Maybe it recovers energy over a longer period, a “trickle charge” as James put it. Then you’d get away with a smaller battery.

  6. Dev says:

    This is exactly what i was thinking when few weeks ago, this is the best way to take advantage of the system. use KERS which won’t be a negative on weight distribution for the car… DRS should help over taking incase you are behind & better braking & car stability would make the car go faster on one lap & also in the race.

  7. Anand says:

    James,
    how can this be KERS?
    when the energy is not recovered from braking

    Is it legal ?

    1. Bill Johnson says:

      The real question is, can the start-only system be fully charged in the one ‘installation’ or ‘parade’ lap before the start – or maybe even in those ‘laps’ before lining up on the grid for the ‘parade’ lap.

      One need not postulate an attachment to power in the garage.

    2. I think this is the big question – is it legal. I read somewhere that it’s only charged in the garage and then used once… But if it’s very slowly charged that’s different. We’ll see tomorrow.

  8. Mario says:

    Very cleaver in deed.

    Will other teams call for a ban on such a practice?

    They would want to push for a rule that requires full KERS be used all the time, together with generators and all that heavy stuff.

    Or will they be forced to adopt it.

    Once again Newey and Co. outsmarted the rest of them.

    1. Jean-Christophe says:

      If this is true it’s not outsmarting everybody. However genious he might be, it could be easily deemed illegal. It might just be Newey pushing the boundaries and waiting for the FIA to come and catch him.

  9. Spark says:

    Maybe I’m being stupid here, but even when it is only KERS light I am guessing you could still use it for qualifying. I mean if it only works for a couple of seconds, you could still use it for the burst onto the main straight.

    So I am guessing this is not yet the whole story to the KERS light system from Red Bull?
    On the other hand, what the complete story is, I don’t know :-)

    1. Dev says:

      i guess, but maybe it does not regenerate fast enough in lap or two… you can use (little) KERS at starts, maybe restarts after a safety car incident.. only store small amount of power to help defend position at start & re-starts. but if the big KERS means compromise with the car pace then it’s useless to have it. i thought many teams would think this way, you can use upto 6 secs, but there is no penalty if you use only 3 secs of it.

      the dumb competition makes Red Bull look really smart.

  10. Denys says:

    Is it legal? It doesn’t charging so it is not a KERS – just a battery. The whole sence of a KERS is missing here.

    1. Grietzen says:

      Nowhere is written this system isn’t charging. It could charge from brake energy during the install lap. Storing the energy in a large capacitor or other type battery for a quick release during start. The other teams are equipped with heavyer batterypacks for more and constant charge/discharge cycles.

  11. Snowy says:

    Surely weight distribution is now fixed and regulated by the rules so that KERS doesn’t handicap heavier drivers?

    Surely that would restrict any benefits of a lighter system?

    1. James Allen says:

      Only front to rear – not lowering C of G etc

  12. Serrated Edge says:

    Very intresting news James, could Newey have come up with this years Double Diffuser or F-Duct?

  13. jonrob says:

    Frankie
    Yes the KERS can and usually is, fully charged in the garage before the race start. However they still need the Motor/generator on the end of the crankshaft. I cannot see any immediate major weight saving in having a motor only instead of motor/generator since they are basically the same part, though there will be some sort of weight gain in not having the rectification/inverter circuits.
    However as James says they may need to have the full kit later on unless “our Aide” has even more tricks up his sleeve.

    1. Frankie says:

      I have always discounted systems other than electrical because of the weight. With this system that no longer applies. I am sure there will be some gain in distribution but I would expect the main gain to come from the fact you are no longer having to cool the device. Whether that be in drag or down force, that is where I see the gain.

    2. Locoblade says:

      Its not only the motor though, if you’re not using it lap in lap out then you don’t need to cool it, so you lose weight there and also have less drag as you can have smaller cooling inlets and outlets, McLaren for example could lose the second “hood” inlet on their rollhoop if they didnt need to cool the KERS system.

  14. Interesting. One could argue that such a system is totally against the spirit of KERS! But it does raise one question. In one of the free practice sessions Vettel was told to use KERS ‘urgently’ by his engineer. The commentators suggested that the most probable reason for this is that the battery was getting cooked from over-charging. If the system doesn’t allow for charging can you think of any other reason SV would be prompted to ‘urgently’ use KERS?

    1. TheLegend says:

      Maybe it’s a very light and little kers, that still recharges, but not to give you the same power as a “normal” kers, only for few times race, including start.

  15. kurtism says:

    Surely this makes the Red Bull even more of a sitting duck on the straights?

    or even at places like corner exit?

    The McLaren has maximized value adds. i.e usually the best mercedes kers, while the L shaped sidepods boost air to the rear wing and therefore maximize the effect of having the rear wing flap open.

    With a car so fast on the straights, McLaren could pass Red Bull on the straights and then hold them up the rest of the lap. We saw this happen last year

    Attached is a copy of the speed traps

    http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Documents/aus-qualifying-trap.pdf

    1. Azri says:

      webber and vettel low in the pecking order in terms of the straight line speed but still occupy the first two rows of the grid. Man, that Newey package is really something.

  16. Ridwan_jogja says:

    Very smart thinking from RBR designer/engineer.

  17. jmv says:

    hah! interesting revelation.. but then… the question becomes… is it KERS???

    If described as it is they do not have a System for Kinetic Energy Recovery…

    They have in fact a “start boost system”, or “launch control system”.

    I think the FIA should step in here: KERS should constitute “with all necessary components for kinetic energy recovery”.

    Is the same as the 70s Brabham that had this extra ventilator for “cooling” that was for another purpose.

    FIA can step-in in a very simple way:

    1) batteries CANNOT be charged in the pits, but only through motion / deceleration (i.e. formation lap or installation laps before getting onto the grid)
    2) KERS CANNOT be used during the start, before the first corner.

    So no FIA investigation or ban of the Red Bull system. No hearings, no controversy.. just changing the bordering rules a bit.

    1. Michael Grievson says:

      this is a vey good point

    2. Darran says:

      If you cannot use them at the start you might as well do away with them all together.

      Its easy really: if we make regulations that make aerodynamics 90% of the equation, and there is one person (a genius) who is in a class of their own in this regard, then whoever hires this person has a number of championships in their pockets before they even wheel the car out of the garage.

      I’m quite tired of rules to ‘cut costs’ which end up costing everyone double, rules to ‘level the field’ which always remind me of overall manipulation, tyres that behave erratically, mad propositions to wet the tracks artificially and so on and so forth…

      Sorry, this all has nothing to do with F1 as it used to be and should be.

      With todays budgets and restrictions, human ressources are a whole new ball-game, and the likelihood of another Newey coming along in our lifetimes is practically nil.

      As long as the bias is on aero, the whole idea of competing against whichever team has Newey is just ridiculous: no wonder we are hearing Ferrari are doing their utmost to grab him, it shows a certain lucidity on the part of Ferrari management – someone there is tired of the usual press releases, ‘we don’t know why we underperformed, we will look at the data and work hard, we should be better in the race as we have great pace, we have some developments coming’ …

      I bet I will be able to take Ferrari’s press releases of the previous 3 years and use them again this year.

      Whitmarsh had a particular look on his face too, it read ‘season over’, and at least they tried to bring innovations capable of challenging RedBull.

    3. ajpandabear says:

      Well said. kers should only be used after the first lap. the formation lap is NOT racing, so battery level should be zero.

  18. BackroomF1 says:

    I presume that there is no weight saving per se as the minimum weight of the cars was increased this year to take account of the return of KERS and that, as you stated, it only allows more flexibility in terms of weight distribution.

    Already this article is being misquoted as a means of saving weight.

    1. jonrob says:

      If you save weight you can put the ballast where you want it in order to balance the car.

      1. er,go says:

        or you can put more fuel in the tank…

      2. BackroomF1 says:

        Which is exactly what I said. The overall weight of the car is unaffected because of the minimum weight limit so all you gain is the ability to place the ballast exactly where it does most good and, as Horner said after the race, you can optimise the aero.

  19. Stefanos says:

    This is very interesting and very smart. Thanks James.
    Would there be more optimisation possible? Can their system be used in the race at all (albeit more rarely, due to the slow charg-up), or does it only work from a stand-still? Can it somehow be disengaged, along with the clutch, after the start and therefore allow for better braking balance (perhaps an engineer can correct me).
    From the commentary during the broadcast today, it seems that KERS only confers 0.2-0.3 seconds per lap. I assume this is on a car that already is carrying the system and the weight and braking disadvantages it brings, so this seems very marginal overall. I also assume that this is due to the power restrictions imposed on KERS usage. It is therefore a little surprising that no other teams have come up with a KERS-lite version that takes the “best” of both worlds. It will not be surprising, however, that they all will be considering their own versions now.

    1. JR says:

      If it only works from stand-still then it is NOT a KERS.

  20. george says:

    if that the case the redbull system is illegal.its not KERS it does not recover any energy during breaking

    1. devilsadvocate says:

      “This “start only” system would give a gain in terms of weight distribution and packaging because such a system requires only a small battery, which is trickle charged, compared to the 20 kilo system that Red Bull’s rivals use. One of the reasons why the normal KERS batteries are large and heavy is for reasons of rapid charging.”

      I know I’m not the only one capable of fully reading this aticle but I cut and pasted this juicy tidbit so that perhaps all the mclaren fanboys on their little high from today’s quail can at least get their facts straight it very clearly says the battery recharges but because it is only needed for start situations the battery cam be smaller and charged over a longer time. Perhaps if there are a large number of safetycars in a short period the system won’t be at full juice, which is a risk, but I’m going to assume one that has been accounted for inthe design process.

  21. Robert Ranson says:

    For simplicity I guess people will call it KERS but if there is no energy recovery it really needs a new name. It’s just a start line boost which I assume the rules do allow?

  22. Luke Robbins says:

    Quality investigative journalism James. Everyone would have been wondering what the deal with the lack of KERS use was, e.g. hiding true pace as you have mentioned.

    This explanation seems very rational, and again highlights the creativity of the Red Bull design team, who had probably accepted that at the moment their KERS package could not match the experienced users, notably Mclaren and Ferrari.

    Stuff like this is why i follow your blog! Thanks again.

  23. james b says:

    Brilliant invention but I think against the spirit of the rule.

  24. Jez Thomas says:

    What do the rules state about KERS? It must be optional as some teams don’t have it, but I thought the FIA had insisted on it returning for their green mandate. If it’s totally optional, why did the teams not think about all agreeing not to use it again for reasons of cost and complexity as per 2010?

  25. Sebee says:

    As seen last year early predictions can be wrong. But it looks like Red Bull will steamroll the field. Not much mistery to the 2011 result when the car is this much quicker and is not even using full available package. This thing will be wrapped up by race 10.

    P.S. Poor Schumi!

  26. Ade says:

    Surely a well packaged and designed KERS system would overhaul the RB7 eventually though, or is the power output not high enough? The Mclaren for example seems to be as fast if not faster than the RB in a straight line, thus meaning they’d overhaul them, especially somewhere like Sepang.

    1. TheLegend says:

      Agree. RB will be a “easy” car to overtake (if you can catch them) and overtaking will be even more dificult for them. If they don’t get on pole, they won’t be able to win a race.

  27. Fluebroggle says:

    Lewis qualified second and apparently he did not use his KERS cos it had failed. (Correct me if I am wrong).

    If this is so, then Lewis would have been carrying 20kg of dead weight, so his second place is pretty amazing.

    Also if his KERS had been working, then whose knows how much closer he would have been to Vettel, or even been on pole position.

    1. TheLegend says:

      Without kers failure, he would have been 2 tenths faster. still 6 tenths between Seb and him.

    2. frosty says:

      His KERS was only available for half the lap.

  28. Ashley says:

    James are they not going to be sitting ducks at any time when a car behind them can use KERS and the DRS? Lap 3 if the McLarens are close enough, if not if a car can stay close to them when they come out the pits or a safety car?

  29. Jo Torrent says:

    Very smart indeed. If they took such a route, it is because KERS isn’t that interesting in race trim. It gives extra-power during the race but that little extra-boost comes at the expense of braking stability hampered by KERS charging. Add to that the drag penalty due to KERS cooling, the extra-weight you can’t put wherever you want, the safety and reliability issues, the extra-resources needed to make it work effectively and reliably.

    Don’t forget we’re in a resource restriction agreement and those extra-resources, RedBull can put them in mechanical and aero developments. Most teams went the KERS route mainly for the start penalty they can’t afford to hand their rivals.

    RedBull, if confirmed, showed how smart they are.

    1. brendan says:

      smart yes but i cant see how it can be legal. it isnt an energy recovery system. its an electric boost or launch control surely??

  30. Jonathan says:

    Doesn’t this go against the spirit of the KERS system to introduce a ‘green’ element into F1? (not that any aspect of F1 could ever be considered green, but that’s a different discussion!)

    If the battery is getting trickle charged before the race, then surely there is no Kinetic Energy being Recovered…

    1. James Hobson says:

      Perhaps they run the car up on jacks in the garage and break occasionally to build up energy. Haha.

    2. Tom says:

      Just like DDD went against the spirit of the rules in gaining downforce…

      Or the f-duct went against the spirit of the rules in having moving parts (just the driver’s knee as one of them)..

    3. Speed-Wiz says:

      As we found with double diffusers in 2009, it’s OK to go against the spirit of the rules as long as you comply with their exact wording.

  31. Andras F. says:

    If the start only KERS isn’t rechargeable then it is not a KERS anymore. Is it legal then?

  32. Phil Bishop says:

    Once again I’m humbled by the ingenuity and intelligence if those working in F1. Newey must surely be THE most sought after man in the paddock. I hope he gets paid a driver-esque salary

    1. RobH says:

      He does… more than most drivers on the grid.

    2. Brad Philpot says:

      Oh much more than most. He is on a very hefty retainer.

  33. Alex Attard says:

    Does this KERS echarges in the race?

    I know that at present Red Bull are far ahead from the rest and it is difficult in the race that someone will be within 1 second to them. But how are they going to defend themselves from the DRS if KERS does not charge? Remember last year the race advantage was less evident than in qualifying.

    Hopefully tomorrow we will see how the package order will be in race trim.

  34. James says:

    The reason they ave gone this route is that Adrian Newey could not face the thought of sticking 20Kilos of weight into his perfect aero package !

  35. irish con says:

    would that not give them trouble on restarts after safety car periods and there usually is at least one in melbourne.

  36. Paul H says:

    Another savvy move by Newey and co or a sign that we could see the other teams rein in Red Bull as the season progresses? Much has been made about the efficient and tight packaging of the Red Bull and you have to ask if there is an easy way to add a full system into such spacing. Certainly hope so as I really want another season of several closely matched teams.

    How do you see the next few races going for HRT having not been allowed to race? Is it likely they’ll have to travel to the first couple of races without making the time? All the new teams seem to be struggling, I hope they take steps forward and not backward this year.

  37. Sebee says:

    Could we have a technical article about the possible ways Red Bull are lowering their front?

    Could it be something driver based? Next to the pedals something that applies pressure to suspension to lower it enough for the effect?
    Is the lowering constant? Only under load?
    Could it be something that happens after a period of running only when suspension components warm up?

    I can’t believe that after a full year competition can’t figure this out.

    1. Les says:

      Agreed, no witch hunt wanted, I really am keen to know just know how clever these guys really are.

      As for the start KERS thing, I’m very impressed, but the word that sticks is ‘recovery’, and I don’t see that. If it is ruled legal, I’ll accept it and it’s up to the others to respond.

      So there is no doubt, a full on McClaren fan, but a fan of a good show almost as mutch!

      Les

      1. Les says:

        *wincing at the prosthetic ‘T’ in much… note to self, check spelling…*

  38. Steve says:

    While obviously giving benefits when it comes to packaging and weight, I’m thinking this might leave Redbull quite vulnerable during the race. It will be even harder for them to defend against an opponent using DRS combined with tKERS, and it will make overtaking with DRS harder for the Red Bulls since this could mean they can’t get the added kers boost on top of the DRS, and RBR are already amongst the slowest when it comes to top speed. Then again the other cars need to get close enough to the Red Bulls which do look ominously quick in the hands of Vettel.

  39. Mike W says:

    I believe KERS is an acronym for Kinetic Energy Recovery System.

    Whilst I understand that within the rules KERS systems can be charged in the garage, if the Red Bull system is actually incapable of recovering energy from braking during running, it is against the spirit of the rules as there is no “recovery” taking place.

    I can imagine there being an investigation into the legality of such a system as surely it must be capable of energy recovery to qualify as KERS. Otherwise any team could design some kind of slingshot device to help off the line.

  40. Jeff says:

    Good investigative work as always James. I thought you made a mistake when you were interviewing Vettel, so it turns out both he and Hamilton didn’t have KERS… but for different reasons.

    Amazing that Red Bull are so far ahead of the field they can dedicate enough time and resources to make their own KERS system, made only possible because of that huge downforce advantage.

  41. Red5 says:

    Very innovative thinking by Red Bull. Again.

    Once past the white line, would this system also give drivers a boost after each pit stop?

  42. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of the energy recovery part of KERS…?

  43. Andy c says:

    If this is true it’s another great innovation from redbull.

    I would however be quite happy as a mclaren or Ferrari driver in that if they can get close enough (big if ;-), in races they’ll have something to overtake with.

    This is what f1 is about, someone taking a different route.

    Those wings are made of jelly aren’t they? Beating the flex tests again.

    1. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

      “If this is true it’s another great innovation from redbull.”

      I sort of disagree if what they have ended up with is a KERS which is charged from the mains and then doesn’t actually recover any kinetic energy (or perhaps just a joule or so to meet the rulebook) over the course of a race. I appreciate that it’s technically a clever thing to have done in the context of winning races, but I like to think that F1 also spearheads new tech that will become part of consumer road cars one day – a purposefully crippled version of KERS just to avoid the weight penalty doesn’t fit into that view at all.

    2. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

      “Those wings are made of jelly aren’t they? Beating the flex tests again.”

      I’ve been thinking about that. It’s probably already been mentioned somewhere, but anyway – I don’t know what the FIA tests involve, but it seems to be a simple load bearing test (i.e., a static wing which has weights placed on it or suspended from it).

      If you can manage to arrange the carbon fibre layers at such an angle so that when a vertical force only is applied (i.e., the FIA test) the wings are rigid but when a horizontal force is applied (i.e., the resistance of the air as the wing cuts through it) together with a vertical force (the force that same air asserts due to the curvature of the wing surface) the wing flexes, then you have something that could have the apparent properties of the RBR front wing.

      If they have something like that then I’ll refer to my previous comment on the KERS – although it might be “clever”, it goes against the spirit of the FIA rule that the test is trying to enforce (that the wing should not flex to the point where the car gets an advantageous ground effect).

      Just because it passes the test, it doesn’t necessarily mean it adheres to the rule.

      1. Mouse_Nightshirt says:

        “Just because it passes the test, it doesn’t necessarily mean it adheres to the rule.”

        No, it means exactly that. The rule is defined as the result of the test. If it meets the test, it is within the rules.

        Whether it is in the *spirit* of the rules is a different matter altogether. But then that’s to be taken advantage of whilst everyone deliberates – it’s always been Newey’s strength.

      2. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

        “No, it means exactly that. The rule is defined as the result of the test. If it meets the test, it is within the rules.”

        I’m sorry, but you are wrong.

        The rule states that the endplates may not be lower than a certain distance to the ground (something like 750mm) during a race.

        They have a test which attempts to approximate the force applied to the wing during a race in order to attempt to determine if the wing will flex more than the rule states during the race. That test is an approxmiation.

        If what you’re saying it true, then last season when they changed the test (after the complaints from non-RBR teams), they also by definition changed the rule (if the rule is simply that the car passes whatever the current test is).

        The test attempts to verify the rule. The rule is not defined by the test.

      3. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

        “something like 750mm” … I meant 75mm ;)

  44. Ed says:

    James, Interesting about the start only KERS. Can you tell us the weight of the Red Bull versus MacLaren. I don’t see the advantage to Red Bull is MacLaren can get down to the weight limit.

    1. Paul H says:

      They’ll weigh the same as they have to meet a minimum weight and all teams will ensure they don’t got a gram over what is absolutely required. Ballast is used to make up the difference from actual weight to minimum weight and this is the key benefit as they will have the weight distributed differently. All teams use ballast (tungsten as far as I know) to balance the car and alter the handling characteristics and with a KERS-lite system, RedBull would have more ballast to move around. With ordinary KERS all the mass is more central and fixed providing less set up flexibility.

  45. goferet says:

    There’s such a thing as being too confident & what happens to overly confident people – Yes, they always get bitten in the rear

  46. James Hobson says:

    James, is this ‘Start Only’ system a defensive one in terms of countering the opposition using their KERS from the startline or will it give them an actual advantage at the offset of a race? Its benefits over the course of the race combined with their car design is obvious but I was just wondering about the implications at the start.

  47. Toby says:

    What the heck is the point of a Kinetic Energy Recovery System that doesn’t recover energy?!

    1. Carl says:

      It does recover energy. I don’t know why everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. It uses smaller batteries and recovers less energy, our takes a lot longer than a few corners top recover the energy. This has the advantage of it being smaller, lighter and having a much reduced effect on brake balance.

      Basically it can be used in the race, just it won’t be ready ever few laps.

  48. Nikola says:

    Thanks for the info James.
    James, is this “one time” KERS only, i.e. just for the start, or it can recharge over again during race?
    Thanks in advance for your reply.
    PS: Sorry for my English, it’s not that good.

    1. James Allen says:

      One time only, I believe

      1. Nando says:

        The FIA should of seen this loophole. A one-use system hardly encourages the efficiency savings I thought KERS wss supposed to promote.

      2. Anton says:

        So they must be “recharging” during the formation lap? If so it must be legal right?

      3. Hezla says:

        If that is true, why did Vettel not use the KERS one time only in Q3

      4. Jean-Christophe says:

        Then it’s not kers james, is it ?

    2. Tony says:

      Nikola, your english is excellent!

      Straight to the point too, cool.

  49. CartRider says:

    Newey’s solutions are always elegant! That’s why particularly I don’t believe that the front wing flexes because of some revolutionary materials it is built of. Also, I remember, Newey mentioned that the idea was simple, and he was surprised that other teams couldn’t solve the riddle.

    James, could you clarify how stewards administer the flexi test for the front wing? I think, your readers would love to know. Do they apply the force of the weights only vertically to a horizontally placed wing, or somehow else? Is it at all possible that the system on the Red Bull cars works only when some horizontal force due to the air resistance is applied?

    It seems to me that Red Bull can flex their wings as much as they please so that the wing comes to the surface as close as possible, almost scratching the ground but not breaking. I don’t believe that it’s possible to regulate the flexibility of the wing with such precision. We’ve seen McLaren trying to do this with their measurement system during the tests, but I don’t remember Red Bull doing the same in the past. So I would not look for the answer in the flexibility of the materials.

    It might be possible that the wing has to move in the horizontal line a bit before it starts moving in the vertical, closer to the asphalt. The wing could be moved back to its original position by a spring. The air resistance would need to overcome the resistance of the spring before it would be enough to activate the system, and thus it would work only at high speed. Very roughly the trajectory in profile would look like this
    _
    \
    This kind of junction could be used in the place where the wing is fixed to the nose, or where the plane is fixed to the pylons, or where the sides of the plane are fixed to the middle. I remember last year during one of the qualifying sessions, the front wing on Webber’s car suddenly broke at some place. Then I thought that it was strange because there were absolutely no causes for the break. Now I think that the wing could break at the kind of juncture I portrayed. If such scheme is at all legal and possible, then any flexi test with a force applied downward would never reveal the “flexibility” regardless of how heavy the weights are. That’s particularly why I want to learn about the administration of the flexi test. James, because you know better how it is done, do you think that it’s at all possible and legal?

    Certainly, there will be a lot of rumors of possible tricks implemented in the Red Bulls partially because none of them are visible unlike the last year’s F-duct, for example. It is true about all this year cars, except Renault, and, unfortunately, I don’t see where Ferrari or other teams can gain substantially by coping.

    1. er,go says:

      I agree that the solution to the riddle is not in flexiblity. at least flex due to airflow. I would look to a mechanical solution. My starting point is body-roll. to have a wing close to and parallel to the ground ( if you want max downforce) the nose has to go in the opposite direction to body-roll. I think a suspension provoked twisting to the nose might do that, since the link to body-roll is direct. there is also force in the necessarily reactive springing to be used. maybe they have taken a bit of front suspension movement and converted that to pushing the nosecone in a favourable direction. I believe the force due to body-roll is quite high but easily managaeble, normaly with a torsion bar in a road car. the nosecone could be a form of this.
      dave

  50. Andy K says:

    James, does this KERs-Lite system still weigh as much as the regular KERs systems?

    Surely it’s an unfair advantage because all cars have a minimum weight?

    Sorry if this question has already been asked, I just didn’t fancy reading every other post!

    Thanks, Andy

  51. Damian J says:

    James,

    I have seen a photo of a comparison of flexi wings between the 2011 Redbull and McLaren at Melbourne yesterday and it would seem that McLaren are giving away anything up to 1cm….the Redbull wings almost touching the ground.

    This issue could remain the hot top in 2011 above KERS or DRS.

  52. Nando says:

    Is Lewis going to have KERS in the race?

  53. Chris says:

    This is not a Kinetic Energy RECOVERY System!, It Is simply a battery boost, which is not in the same. It does not recovery energy it uses energy generated by power stations. Not in the interest of the green spirit it was founded on.

  54. Joe says:

    KERS = “Kinetic Energy Recovery System”. It seems that Red Bull removed the “Kinetic” and the “Recovery” from their car to make it lighter. Extremely clever and it laughs at the face of this system altogether. Green technology, yeah right.

  55. James says:

    I loved Hamilton’s face when it was brought up that Vettel hadn’t used KERS.

    1. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

      I loved the look on Button’s when he was told his team made hadn’t used it either ;)

  56. James says:

    If they have a one-shot system, this could still prove entertaining when traffic is bunched up again during the race.

  57. colin says:

    We pick up where we left last season. Red Bull out qualifying the field, and the rest left to chase. F1 in recent years has always tried to increse overtaking, all Red Bull do, is make a really quick car that will out qualify every other team, it’s then left to the other teams/drivers to try and overtake, which is nearly impossible these days.Red Bull last year dominated qualifying last year as they had designed a car around the double defusser, but this required the drivers to change their driving technique to get the best out of the package. They could only do this in qualifying, hence the big difference between their qualifying and race speed.
    I believe they have gone for the same approach this season, but with some new Adrian Newey tricks!!

  58. Red5 says:

    If the amount of power relased by KERS was raised this could help cancel out the weight disadvantage.

    And encourage engineers to increase efficiency of the overall system.

  59. Rich C says:

    Talk about out-of-the-box thinking! This is just hilarious. Newey strikes again!

    As I said in another thread, he must now be banned for bringing all the other designers into disrepute!

  60. Brandon Merrell says:

    Is it possible that Sebastien has the whole system, but Mark only has the partial system because he doesn’t have room for ballast and the team thinks weight distribution will be more important?

  61. Stephen says:

    It would be interesting to know for sure if this is one-time or just a slow charge KERS. If it is one-time then surely someone has mucked up drafting the rules if it is legal.

    I can see the benefits of a slow-charge version though. The BBC commentators were quoting about 80hp more from KERS which I assume translates to about 60kW of electrical energy.

    Batteries can be discharged at very high C rates (C being the capacity so say a 1Ah battery could, depending on the technology, be discharged at maybe 30-40A). However, high C charging is not so easy. It needs specially designed and built batteries, I would suspect it would need thermal management for the batteries as well as complex electronics.

    If you think about it, a cutting-edge NiMH charger quotes a 15 minute recharge time, in other words, 4C recharge time. You could discharge it much faster than that.

    It would be interesting to know how long they are typically on the brakes for compared to the boost time allowed from KERS. Considering the energy harvested will vary with car speed I would think you are going to be talking some fairly high charge rates being needed.

    Also, consider that you only need 60kW for 6.66 seconds per lap. That means you only need to store say 120Wh of energy. Even with 1Ah cells that means a 120V pack or around 32 lithium cells.

    However, drawing 60kW from a 120V pack means a 500A current drain. This is well outside commercial tolerances, it may be viable for very specialist cells for a very short period. It is way too much for charging though, I just can’t see it with current technology. Maybe using a secondary storage method such as a supercapacitor to take the bulk charge and trickling this in to the main battery but this would mean more weight and complexity.

    I wonder though whether the battery capacity is actually a lot larger than it needs to be to do a full discharge-charge cycle each lap. This would make the charge and discharge rates more realistic but mean a heavier battery pack.

    Running a pack with just enough capacity would save weight and would support full power discharges still but you would have to reduce the charging current. This would simplify the electronics though and could also increase reliability.

  62. William says:

    Nice trick Newey :) here’s the catch, Red Bull’s KERS may not against the rule, why you may ask? easy, as they were charged during the Qualifying!! that’s why, for sure if (and that’s a big if) they use such clever KERS, it would certainly explain the reluctance to use the KERS during Q3 as they might not properly charged for the race.

    The trick is that Red Bull battery save those energy from the Qualifying to use it for the race. My hypothesis is that they have a KERS that may not charge as much as other system, as well as storing smaller energy, albeit with a lighter weight. Adrian Newey is just too smart for F1, FIA might ban genius like him in the future :)

  63. FordGT40 says:

    The regulations seem to cover the maximum energy recovered. Nothing is specified as a minimum therefore your KERS doesn’t have to capture anything during the race to be legal. It just has to be positioned correctly and integrated into the ECU. Well that is my reading of the rules. So it seems perfectly legal.

  64. BBT says:

    Sorry but it just doesn’t make any sense to me. There is more to it. If its one use only then why not use it once on the hot qualifying lap, like I said it makes no sense.
    I assume it does still trickle charge (but not enough to be used frequently or a second time) otherwise it is not KERS and should be illegal.

  65. DC says:

    Quite a gamble with Lewis and Jenson just behind them.

    Lewis went from 18th to 4th (then disqualified, but we’ll ignore that for the moment) with a car that was 2 seconds off the pace. He said KERS was why he was able to work his way up the grid. There is a you tube video of him using it to pass many cars that out qualified him on merit.

    I think Lewis certainly has a lot of skill using KERS in a race… should be very interesting tomorrow!

    1. DC says:

      Should have mentioned that was in 2009 of course.

  66. Alistair says:

    I think that this is a wrong move from RBR. Sure, it might make them faster, in terms of outright pace; however, as an approach to racing, it’s wrong.

    RBR will be vunerable on any restart or restart after a safety car period. They won’t be able to defend themselves with KERS from a DRS overtake; whereas, the KERS cars will. Furthermore, RBR will rely only on DRS to make an overtake; whereas, the KERS cars will have this as well. The KERS cars will also be able to overtake, exiting the pitlane: as we saw Heiki do to Fisi at Suzuka a few years back.

    If McLaren (who seem to have done a remarkable job) can get anywhere near them in lap-time, RBR are passed for so long as their strategy works. Otherwise, RBR aren’t coming past again. McLaren will be able to overtake and prevent an overtake using KERS and or the DRS.

  67. bones says:

    It sounds smart this idea,BUT if this is the case(KERS only for the start)why did not use it during qualy?
    After all it was going to be only once during the day,the same for race day is they are running this kind of system.
    I think there is something else.

  68. Pete says:

    Well with their bending front wing (still not properly scrutinized by the FIA) they should waltz off into the distance. Still they can always crash in to each other again to provide the entertainment.

  69. Vasio says:

    Hi James, big fan of the site.

    I’m quite confused about this since during practice I remember Vettel’s engineer telling him to use KERS and it was vital or something along those lines. How can he ask him to use KERS during practice if they can only use it once at the start of the race?

  70. Gary says:

    Correct me if I am wrong but does the rules not ban Launch systems/boost systems to aid drivers at the start of the race?

    Coz frankly this is exactly what Red Bull have. Calling KERS is a total joke since it does nothing that a KERS system is supposed to do.

    You could say it is smart engineering, in a way its very smart indeed, but right now its not KERS thats for sure.

  71. . says:

    People who are asking if it is illegal….no one except RBR knows what it does, all articles about this the last day have been speculation, nothing more.

    Who knows, maybe it does ‘recover energy’.

    And surely before starting the season they got it checked out by the FIA (knowing Newey) and they had no problems with it.

    Sour grapes.

    1. craigdaly77 says:

      My thinking exactly. Until the schematic of how it works is revealed this is all just assumption and we know what that they say about assumption…….

  72. AlexD says:

    I need to say it…Ferrari did disappoint. Many times people were saying that you need to have radical changes and yet Ferrari goes the conservative way year after year. They can still win races this year, but they are not thought leaders, not the one being chased.
    I can’t remember a car that dominant as RB7 is…but maybe this time around there is something illegal.
    It looks like Newey is one step ahead of everybody – not just other teams, but also FIA and the rest. He is dictating the rules and he knows how other people will think…
    How is that possible?

  73. Michael Grievson says:

    i thought launch systems were banned?

  74. James Draper says:

    The system the article describes is a chemical energy discharge system. All cars using the electrical solution need them for their kinetic energy recovery system to store energy. If it is true that they only have a discharge then the concept is surely illegal.

    I would guess though that they have only a very limited recovery system which is capable of charging their battery but not capable of gaining a full charge every lap. Since there is no minimum charge rate they may be in fact following the regulations.

  75. Simon Eser says:

    They definitly have a full KERS, not a start-only-KERS

    Watch this video from P2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mikg7vy6 … re=related

    Look at the left hand side display on the dashboard, you can see normaly the speed in kph. At some stages this changes to a number counting up from 0 to 100. This happens always when you would think kers would be activated.
    So this display shows him how much kers he has used and we can see when he is using kers.

    Aswell in a interview from the preseason testing Vettel said that it´s hard to look at your dashboard display to use the right amount of kers while concentrating on driving fast.

    I think rbr has decided not to use kers in quali to optimise breakbias and breaking feel. This extra confidence for the driver and unaffected rearend breaking will give them more laptime as those 400 kj kers power could give

    1. Dan says:

      Simon,

      Well done, you are clearly spot on and correct, but unfortunately James hasn’t (yet) clarified that Red Bull just removed KERS because they aren’t 100% sure its working right yet, apparently due to the packaging of the kit needed, and Newey refusing to compromise on the Aero.

      I’m surprised none of the 100 + other comments have picked up the obvious reason for KERS not being used. I suspect the TV graphics haven’t helped, as they appear to have shown the KERS system as armed and ready to use, when in fact it wasn’t present at all.

  76. Brian says:

    Per the rules: weight distribution is FIXED. There is no advantage to a lighter system.

    Could it be as simple as a failure with the Red Bull KERS system?

    1. Kyle says:

      Not true, there is a center of gravity advantage. Ballast is placed in flat sheets on the very bottom of the car, KERS weight, no matter how well packaged, will be above the ballast – therefore, the car will have a higher CoG.

    2. jls says:

      its fixed only in respect to a 40:60 split front and rear, no/lite kers means lower CoG

  77. Carl says:

    The teams that wanted the return of KERS without an increase in power/duration only have themselves to blame. Bravo to Red Bull!

    A significant increase in power/duration would have pushed engineering limits and negated the weight/aero penalty.

  78. Brace says:

    James, it’s KERS mandatory this year?
    Or was I under the wrong impression? (I can only imagine the confusion in which all the casual followers must be)

    1. James Allen says:

      Not mandatory – Virgin, Lotus and HRT don’t have it

  79. Tony says:

    It’s the new Fan car… I can see a “clarification” on the way.

  80. Daniel Marshall says:

    This is brilliant, and a great way of getting around the KERS packaging issues. The rules allow it – RB wouldn’t be running it if they didn’t. It’s totally within the spirit of current motor manufacturing too – just like the Toyota Prius or Nissan Leaf, you stick a battery in a car to hold energy and because it’s not burning petrol, everyone assumes it is green. Once you factor in the manufacturing and environmental pollution from dragging all the rare metals for the batteries out of a mine somewhere, it’s not green at all, it’s just a gimmick. Williams flywheel KERS is the only system I have heard of that truly has green credentials.

  81. Franko says:

    I am not so sure Red Bull will continue
    without full KERS, perhaps for few races
    at the begining,tyres are the factor at this
    early stagec credit must be given when it due
    The less weight the less tyre wear, but come
    Spa or Brazilian GP,KERS a must where a long
    and steep hills awaits.

  82. Rik says:

    The 2011 F1 Technical Regulations define KERS as:

    1.20 Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) :
    A system that is designed to recover kinetic energy from the car during braking, store that energy and make it available to propel the car.

    If a system does not meet this definition then it is not KERS according to the FIA’s rules.

    Under “Other means of propulsion” the regulations state:

    5.2.1 The use of any device, other than the 2.4 litre, four stroke engine described in 5.1 above and one KERS, to power the car, is not permitted.

    Which rather begs the question as to how a non-recharging ‘KERS’ system could possibly be considered legal? It would not fit the FIA’s definition and therefore would be illegal under 5.2.1. This doesn’t seem like a loophole to be exploited, but a clear breach.

    I therefore suspect that the Red Bull system almost certainly is going to be able to recharge, just perhaps not at a rate that would actually be usable on a lap-by-lap basis. If the primary use is for the start then it might simply be that the biggest practical difference is that they are using smaller, lighter batteries that would be fully discharged in the initial burst off the line.

  83. Aey says:

    I think RB KERS system is Fully Function which can still be recharged.

    but KERS need cooling, I think the reason they don’t want to use it very often because they optimised their car for Aerodynamic.

    without the need for KERS Cooling, their car get better Aero or better downforce, compare between Aero gain and speed lost without KERS, so they gain the advantage of downforce much more than speed gain from KERS.

    So, i guess that they choose not to use it often because their car didn’t provide enough cooling for KERS.

  84. rafa says:

    great exploiting of a loophole by RB. But since it’s completely against the spirit of the rule albeit not the letter (ie, a system that recovers energy from braking) how likely James is this to be turned down by the FIA?

  85. Aey says:

    And from several Photo

    I feel that Redbull front wing still look closer to the ground than the other teams. if my eye is not very wrong, I curious what is the trick that they can do it and still pass scrutinies.

    I think McLaren try the Flex wing with bubble head sensor during the test, from Australian picture while Mclaren is braking which should be diving, the wing still have guite big gap to the ground, look like it still obviously higher than Redbull.

    sorry, my english is guite poor.

    1. Ayron says:

      The tests are done with 100 or so kilograms of weight, but the wing gets put under 500+ kilograms of stress during race speeds, therefore the test will not stop the clever designers from creating a system which starts its flex at a high enough weight to pass the tests but still give the flex required during a race to gain some advantage.

  86. Matt W says:

    Surely if true this would be launch control in all but name. Another case of something being legal but against the spirit of the rules?

    In any event if this is the case I think the FIA will ban it quickly as it would ruin potentially the most exciting part of a GP to the casual viewer.

  87. Mark J says:

    I may be wrong but I do not think all teams are running KERS this year like Virgin but compensating by adding extra weight to the car which is the rule. So it should make the Red Bull device legal. Pretty smart thinking when the extra weight needed can be placed in the optimal position for the chassis.

    I think the flexing front wing will be the bigger talking point over the season though. The front wing is the part that offers the biggest advantage in aero. Other teams will be crying foul again by the next round.

  88. Red5 says:

    Doesn’t look like the Red Bull system is in-line with current regs because it doesn’t use waste energy generated under braking?

    FIA definition of KERs from their website: “The only other permitted power source is a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which takes waste energy generated under braking and turns it into additional power.”

    And the detail from technical regulations below:

    ARTICLE 5: ENGINES AND KINETIC ENERGY RECOVERY SYSTEMS
    5.2 Other means of propulsion:
    5.2.1 The use of any device, other than the 2.4 litre, four stroke engine described in 5.1 above and one KERS, to power the car, is not permitted.
    5.2.2 With the exception of one fully charged KERS, the total amount of recoverable energy stored on the car must not exceed 300kJ. Any which may be recovered at a rate greater than 2kW must not exceed 20kJ.
    5.2.3 The maximum power, in or out, of any KERS must not exceed 60kW.
    Energy released from the KERS may not exceed 400kJ in any one lap.
    Measurements will be taken at the connection to the rear wheel drivetrain.
    5.2.4 The amount of stored energy in any KERS may not be increased whilst the car is stationary during a race pit stop.
    Release of power from any such system must remain under the complete control of the driver at all times the car is on the track.

  89. Locoblade says:

    It’s entirely possible to meet the “spirit” of the law by making the KERS motor recover energy at a very slow rate during race conditions, enough to say that it’s passing a current back to the batteries and charging them (very slowly) but not enough to add significant forces into the drivetrain and affect the car’s brake balance, or require significant cooling. Very clever but really not in the spirit of the intended rule and as the FIA want F1 to be seen as being green(er), I’d say it would likely be banned, also on the grounds of cost for other teams to develop similar systems.

  90. Snailtrail says:

    Thanks for the scope James!

    I’m totally against KERS = hate it and dont see the point – fake racing.

    If the powers that be were serious about making F1 green they should have come up with a system where by the driver in front can push a button to disable 80hp out of the following car – its the same result – only that it saves millions spend and is in fact green.

    1. er,go says:

      yeah, i think cars should have a rope dragging behind so that a following car can run over it and slow the car in front down. that would be a hemp rope if you want to be extra green. overtaking possibilities galore.

    2. Rich C says:

      >>If the powers that be were serious about making F1 green<>a system where by the driver in front can push a button to disable 80hp out of the following car <<

      +10 ! An absolutely awesome idea!!

  91. ACB says:

    The typical brilliance we expect from Newey, and can you think of anything more demoralizing at this point for the rest of the field? Vettel and Webber driving a car that is every bit as good as last year, and they don’t really have KERS per se-and don’t need it. It shows a design that aids race strategy; it shows a grasp of their drivers and a grasp of racecraft; build a light quick car, get the car out in front and keep it there.

  92. BMG says:

    James, can you tell me why Webber is starting 2nd on the Grid?

    1. Mike says:

      :D What is he, a clairvoyant? :D

      Webber didn’t hook the lap up as well as Vettel?

  93. Prelude says:

    It could be that redbul’s system is only capable of producing boost once after which it overheats and becomes useless. There is no rule stating what the durability of a kers system should be. So redbul have probably decided to save weight and have a kers system that can only be used once before it dies. The most advantageous moment to use it is at the start of a race.

    1. Mike says:

      But KERS is supposed to be promoting reusing energy, so if someone is circumventing the intent of the regulation that allows a battery & motor, maybe it can be disallowed on grounds of not being good for the sport’s image (151c) — if everyone followed suit, it sure would be, as it would make KERS a joke.

      1. Prelude says:

        Yeah I agree. What Redbull are probably doing is not KERS and should be banned by the FIA. And the simplest way to do it, as someone here stated, is to have the cars start with empty batteries. The batteries should only be charged by energy recovery.

  94. Wee Scamp says:

    So this is effectively a launch control system and therefore illegal.

    1. Maxime Labelle says:

      It most definitely is not a launch “control” system. A little help, perhaps, but in no way contolling anything…

  95. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

    It doesn’t seem in the spirit of KERS to me. KERS should be charged at the previous braking zone, not overnight in the pits. It’s supposed to be Recovering Kinetic Energy.

    This being said, why wouldn’t they use it its one boost after one corner during qualification?

  96. Edward Valentine says:

    Does anyone know who has which sets of tyres left for the race? Who has scrubberd sets or fresh sets of hard or soft? Who used what??

    Thanks in advance.

    Fingers crossed for a clean first corner so we can see some racing.

  97. David Turnedge says:

    Whatever the KERS situation is, Vettel is on the front row and with a much faster lap time than than anyone else.

    Webber must be feeling it and hope that the tyres are to his advantage through the race.

    DC commented during quali at how demoralising it is to have your team mate considerably faster than you and said he knows the feeling. Referring to Mika and Webber I’ll bet.

  98. greg says:

    RBR solution if as stated is legal. Batteries can not be completly discharged or they would never recover 100% and i would assume there is a type of capacitor that holds the charge that is to be used on the lap, i would guess this is the part that must be discharged in the pits as this would convert the battery power to a higher voltage to give the burst of energy for the elec motor to work in sync with the engine (the kers motor would have to drive higher than the engine or it would act as a brake).

    So charging the batteries in the pit should be legal or it may reduce the battery life if drained.

    RBR is charging the batteries during the race, just slower (cooler = smaller batteries) which lifts the complexity of balancing the braking which gives the driver more feeling, less weight allows better balast and who knows Adrian may of stuck some lead in the front wing! lol!

  99. craigdaly77 says:

    Maybe, just maybe Mr Newey went to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry and can perform a perfect flexi-wing charm which he can undo at the end of the race along with transfiguration charm to turn the little hamsters on a treadmill back into a KERS system….. You never know!! ;-)

  100. Mike says:

    If that is what’s being done, then it should be disallowed, since it’s not even a KERS, just a single-use booster slipping in through the KERS regulations. KERS is a Kinetic Energy RECOVERY System, so a “single-use KERS” is not a KERS, not promoting fuel savings (which is the whole point of having KERS instead of just a rev-booster button for passing), and therefore just a cheap trick that has no place in the sport. It’s even kind of a mockery, so IF they are actually doing that, I think it should be Article 151c’d out of the sport.

  101. galletto says:

    Almost everybody is asking:”Is this KERS?”
    We will have the answer shortly, because I think in the paddock few influent guys are asking the same question.

  102. Brian says:

    1) In the past the KERS was not available until a few hundred feet beyond the staring line. It would seem this would not fall under a launch control issue.

    2) How do we know that the Red Bull system is something out of the ordinary. Why would they communicate anything over the radio about a design advantage they might have? Would they not have a plan for exactly what they want to use such a system before at all times? The TV screen KERS status light, would you not have developed a system to broadcast false KERS activation signals if you planned to keep this a secret? Keeping an advantage a secret is as important as developing it.

    The system failed and this is just a bunch of speculation about nothing.

    1. Kev says:

      KERS was available as and when you want it. It is just that using at the start meant excessive wheel spin and it would do no good to your launch.

      Hence it was used after a few hundred Kmph speed inorder to transmit it to the wheels properly.

  103. Derek says:

    Its not KERS (or lack thereof) helping Vettel… Its the front wing flexing again – illegally. Check this out.
    http://axisofoversteer.blogspot.com/

  104. Bruce says:

    Good reporting James. If KERS isn’t mandatory and the #anss is within the rules then fair suck of the sav.

    Good live streaming on OneHD by the way.

  105. RObert Lujan says:

    Makes sense if they only need KERS at the start. My question is can they “Reload” the battery during the pitstop? If so that would be the best setup. They can recharge thier battery at the pits for the next time they need it and save weight! If so, that would be a great idea again from Newey and Co. in the Red Bull design team!

  106. RObert Lujan says:

    I was a Petrov skeptic before, thinking he was only there for his Russian Money. I take it all back, that was a great showing from him this morning in Australia. I feel so bad for Robert Kubica! He would have given Vettel a run for his money!

  107. BicesterPaul says:

    Interesting to discover after the race that they did not have KERS on cars at all.
    I would guess with what was discussed around Newey not being willing to compromise aero packaging to fit a full KERS in then the team are working on the launch boost version with smaller batteries and space requirements.

  108. Adrian Dean says:

    On a totally different topic, just read that the flexing front wing of the RBR car is in fact a flexing front nose area, hence the wing passes every time but can still appear to bend towards track

  109. tim says:

    thats neweys dodgy device, well i say, forget trying to ban it, because the fia have no clue, get everyone to copy it, it is such an advantage, its a joke, its a green light for flexi wings.

  110. Andy says:

    Maybe Red Bull recover the energy from Webber jumping around at Horner trying to get the same car as Vettel.

  111. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I
    find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand.

    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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