16 April 2011
Jones in favour of KERS' return
1980 F1 world champion Alan Jones has backed the use of KERS and DRS in modern-day grand prix racing.
While three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda has made his feelings on recent technical developments well known, another former title winner has spoken of his support for the return of KERS in 2011.
1980 champion Alan Jones had to wrestle his normally-aspirated Williams to the crown, but admits that he enjoys seeing countryman Mark Webber and the rest of the current breed get to use the benefits of the 'kinetic energy recovery system', claiming that it has the potential to put the excitement back into watching the top flight in an era where overtaking has become more and more scarce.
"I don't know whether KERS is the be-all and end-all, but I do support any device or innovation that encourages overtaking," Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald as F1 geared up for its third round of the season in China, "People go to races to watch people pass, not follow the leader. I think you've got to give the FIA some credit for trying to introduce some measures to make overtaking a little bit more prevalent in F1 than it has been.
"We've never seen anything like this in F1 before, apart from when it first came along a couple of years ago. But, like the moveable rear wings and all that, I'm for anything that makes it more interesting, that makes overtaking a bit more prominent than it has been."
However, in common with some of his modern day contemporaries, Jones admits that he has some concerns about the amount of technology making it more difficult for the drivers to concentrate on driving.
"The real issue for me is whether the drivers have too much to think about," he conceded, "The steering wheel nowadays has that many buttons on it, it really is difficult for the drivers even just to make sure they press the right one at the right time."
Ironically, apart from the teams that have decided against running with KERS in the early part of the season, it is Webber's Red Bull team that appears to be struggling most with the technology. After opting against running it at the opening round in Australia, Webber's system failed on the grid in Malaysia, leaving the Australian to lug around the extra weight that the technology entails without the benefit of being able to use it.
"The way Red Bull's cars are handling at the moment you wouldn't want to interrupt it too much," Jones admitted, "They seem to have the best balanced car on the grid [and] they're right up there without using KERS, but I think, particularly in China with some really long straights, Red Bull might have to start using it.
"I don't think it has been left behind in all of this. A team that's dominated the last two seasons of F1 could hardly have been left behind. I think, technically, they're right up there, or ahead of the pack, [so] maybe they're just saying they'd rather have not taken on the extra weight of KERS and concentrated on having a better-handling car."
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