Renault has become the first Formula 1 team to confirm that it will use the contentious KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) device in the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne next weekend.

It is understood that the decision was taken to run the new energy-saving technology on its R29 challenger Down Under after former double world champion Fernando Alonso led the way in testing for the R?gie at Jerez on Monday. A Renault spokesperson confirmed to Crash.net that 'we will be using KERS in Melbourne'.

KERS has proven problematic for a number of teams during winter testing, and has been criticised in some quarters for its 'complicated' nature, high cost in an age in which belts are being tightened across the board and weight, which is likely to disadvantage any performance gain from the 80bhp 'boosts' the technology allows drivers for five or six seconds per lap.

No other team has yet to announce its intentions on the matter, with some - such as Toyota - having even hinted that they will not introduce the non-compulsory device until next season at the earliest. Having been the leading supporter of KERS since its initial development, BMW-Sauber was widely expected to be the first squad to debut it in a race situation, but the Bavarian outfit has made no comment on whether or not it will be doing so in Melbourne.

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner, meanwhile, told Crash.net that the Milton Keynes-based concern is still undecided as to whether it will run with KERS in Australia, though given his squad's engine supply comes from Renault, that decision may now have been made for him...