Williams technical director Sam Michael says the team will be able to run KERS in the opening round of the new F1 season in Australia despite problems with the system during pre-season testing in Spain.
The team hit problems KERS during the final test in Barcelona after an issue with the system forced it to be disabled, but Michael insists the problem has been resolved to allow Williams to run with KERS enabled when racing gets underway at Albert Park.
KERS aside, the Australian insisted that any issues the team has faced over the winter have been minor and no real cause for concern, despite the radical design of the rear end of the FW33.
“We had a few reliability problems during winter testing but none of the problems we had were major, except perhaps those on KERS that have now been addressed,” he said. “Some small faults caused some downtime, but that is the result of having such tightly integrated systems on F1 cars now. Encouragingly, we haven't had any issues with the new conceptual areas that we pushed the boundaries on, like the driveshafts. We have successfully completed 4969.2 kilometres during winter testing.
“[With KERS] We had a problem with the inverter, which is located between the battery and the Motor Generator Unit (MGU). The main problem was that when we had a failure the inverter didn't isolate effectively. We have therefore put in place design changes to give that isolation, and avoid the fault happening again. We have a full solution to allow us to race KERS in Melbourne.”
Michael added that he was confident in the performance of the FW33, although the team will only know where it stands when the first session of the season takes place at Albert Park.
“The teams are closer now as a result of the new regulations, which is what they were designed to do,” he said. “There are a lot of cars within half a second of each other which means if you bring two or three tenths, either from an aero upgrade or some other mechanical component, it could make a significant difference this year.
“The FW33 has been a good car from the beginning, but in terms of performance we will have to wait until the racing to really see where it stands.”