Another critic of Formula 1's innovative KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology has emerged just days before the start of the 2009 season in Melbourne – with highly-respected former designer Gary Anderson describing the devices as 'detrimental to the car's performance' and 'a bit of a lost cause'.
Governing body the FIA has come under fire from a number of quarters of late, from its controversial – and subsequently reversed – new means of determining how the world championship is won, to the row over the legality of some teams' diffusers and the fairness of some competitors introducing KERS sooner than others.
Anderson argues that, somewhere along the line, 'some sense has to come into it' – and he dismissed the notion that those teams that utilise the system will automatically steal a march on their rivals.
“As far as the FIA regulations are concerned, it's one of those things where you don't have to have it, but some sense has got to come into it, I think,” the Northern Irishman told Crash.net Radio
on the subject of KERS. “If you're a team that has it, for that time down the straight where you have your six or seven seconds of power, you will have an advantage – but as far as overall lap time is concerned, I think there's very, very little in it to be honest.
“It's detrimental to the car's performance because of the extra weight – the car won't necessarily be overweight, but the weight won't be in the right position. Reliability could become an issue too.
“I think if the Formula 1 teams have got any sort of organisation between themselves, they should be able to sit down and say 'look, we're not ready to play ball yet, so let's put this off until the first European race in Barcelona and then for sure we can go and run it, but cancel it in those first three flyaway races and carrying all these batteries and bits and pieces and new technology to them'.
“As I say, if one team has it, they will have an advantage on that one straight when they press a button, but the other teams will probably be at an advantage as far as lap times are concerned. It's a compromise. The whole thing is a bit of a lost cause in my opinion.”
Renault is the only one of the sport's ten teams to have thus far confirmed that it will be introducing KERS in the Australian Grand Prix, with Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes expected to do likewise. BMW-Sauber and Red Bull Racing remain undecided, whilst Toyota, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Williams, Force India and the pace-setting Brawn GP outfits are understood to be preparing to delay their respective debuts of the contentious energy-saving equipment.
Another topic that has provoked fierce debate within the F1 paddock is that of the new front wings, with many – BMW stars Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld chief amongst them – forecasting a particularly 'lively' first corner Down Under. Anderson warns that if that is the case, the consequences could be serious indeed.