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.