Despite having been one of the leading backers of the controversial new KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology being introduced into Formula 1 this year, Williams has admitted that it will not
be debuting its version on its FW31 in the 2009 season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
The energy-saving devices – part of governing body the FIA's drive to radically cut costs in the top flight over coming years – have proved problematic in pre-season testing to say the least, with Ferrari suffering a failure only this week in Bahrain [see separate story – click here
Indeed, the Scuderia's
president Luca di Montezemolo has been outspoken in his criticism of KERS, describing it as overly expensive in a period during which the sport is endeavouring to tighten rather than loosen its belts, 'very complicated' and 'a mistake'.
With BMW-Sauber – the strongest supporter amongst the teams of the power-boosting initiative – also having doubts about whether or not it will be in a position to start using KERS in race situations Down Under, Williams' announcement has come as yet another blow to the FIA's intentions.
“We're clear that we're not going to be using it in Australia,” a spokesman for the multiple world championship-winning, Grove-based outfit confessed to international news agency Reuters
, “but [we're] not clear when we will use it.
“The greatest performance opportunities are currently in the weight distribution, balance and optimising set-up for the slick tyre.
“This is where we focus initially. We will introduce KERS as and when we have a system that can improve performance.”
Unlike most of its rivals, Williams is developing its own KERS system – unique in its flywheel mechanism – and has set up a separate company to develop the technology for use both within and outside of racing.