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Red Bull using “start only” KERS?
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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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

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!


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


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.


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


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.


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!


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!


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.


Its not KERS (or lack thereof) helping Vettel… Its the front wing flexing again – illegally. Check this out.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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!! 😉


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!


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.

Edward Valentine

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.

Tom Haythornthwaite

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?


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


😀 What is he, a clairvoyant? 😀

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


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.


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.


>>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!!


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.

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