Teams signing up to Formula 1's new budget cap from next season onwards will benefit from twice as much power from the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology, the FIA has revealed.
KERS has been much maligned since its introduction this year, with the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) calling for a standardised system from 2010, and some suggesting it should be ditched altogether due to its excessive weight and costly development nature – anathema in an age of increasing belt-tightening, they contend.
Indeed, only Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault and BMW-Sauber have thus far trialled the energy-saving devices in 2009, with repeated reliability glitches forcing Ferrari to abandon the system for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, only to subsequently re-instate it a week later in Bahrain.
Whilst oft-criticised, KERS has provided benefits, most notably in terms of overtaking and defending, with defending F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton using it to great effect to vault past Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel at the start in Sakhir last weekend, and both Renault drivers having frustrated the intentions of a number of their rivals with faster cars underneath them by successfully employing it to keep their pursuers at bay.
The principle of KERS is that it recycles braking energy into electrical power, which via a special 'boost' button inside the cockpit then gives access to an added spurt of speed for a maximum of 6.7 seconds per lap. According to the FIA's newly-released regulations, the cost-capped teams will from 2010 be permitted up to 120 kilowatts of power compared to 60KW for their competitors, with 800 kilojoules' energy released per lap against 400KJ for those on an unlimited budget.
The KERS announcement comes in addition to other 'technical freedoms' for cost-capped adherents, including movable front and rear wings, an engine that is not subject to a rev limit, unlimited out-of-season track testing and no restrictions on the scale and speed of wind tunnel testing [see separate story – click here