New FIA president Jean Todt has joined the discussion on KERS, suggesting that it may be possible to reintroduce the so-called 'green' technology when the cost of competing in Formula One is again addressed for nest season.
Speaking to Associated Press
ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Todt reiterated his commitment to reducing the amount of money needed to compete in the top flight, but confirmed that the reintroduction of KERS - used by some in 2009, but unanimously suspended for 2010 - could come as early as 2011. The issue has been the subject of debate almost since the current season got underway in Bahrain, but has yet to achieve a consensus opinion from team owners, with many backing the return but others strongly against it.
"We need to let the new teams live, to survive," Todt said, "We can do this by reducing costs and by doing a lot of things to improve the show. We need to put vigour into new technologies because F1 should be an ambassador to new technology. I have hope that sponsors will then come back, and that will allow teams to compete in F1."
The KERS debate was again raised during Friday's FIA press conference, where four of the sport's leading technical directors debated not only the possible date for its reintroduction, but whether it was needed at all.
"At Williams, we have always been supportive of KERS, and we see it as part of F1 in the future," Sam Michael commented, "The exact timing of when it is introduced is something that is still being debated within FOTA, and I think the idea was to have the final decision this weekend as everyone has got to get on and design their cars for 2011.
"But there are obviously different technologies out there and, as you said, [Williams] have vested interests. We have battery technology and fly-wheel, and I think that is a secondary or even third order of decision. The main thing is we just want to see a plan whether it is next year or later when it is going to be introduced. That is still going around for discussion at the moment, but we are fully supportive of it.
"There is definitely a strong possibility that we will run KERS in 2011, but we won't be alone. It is under discussion at FOTA at the moment, so we can try and come to some consensus as to what we do. But it is in the regulations, [and] it is in this year's as well. It is only because of the agreement that no-one ran it this year."
Ferrari's Aldo Costa confirmed that the Scuderia would join Williams
in supporting the reintroduction of KERS next year, and pointed out that, along with the regie
, he was pushing for the system to have a greater performance increase than allowed in the 2009-10 rules.
"With the same system, we think, with a more revised system, we can achieve from it much more and the application can be used also during a weekend or during a race for other purposes and for better integration of the KERS in the vehicle to reach the proper status of hybrid vehicle," Costa claimed, "At the moment, it isn't as it is written, so we are proposing that but, unfortunately, there is not a lot of consensus at the moment.