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Italy - Friday press conference - 2.

Technical directors: Luca Marmorini (Toyota), Sam Michael (Williams), Adrian Newey (Red Bull) and Pat Symonds (Renault).


Questions from the floor.



Q: (Tatsuya Otani - Car Graphic).
What is your situation with the KERS system for next year, and how big a performance advantage do you expect from that? How important is it?

Sam Michael:
I think everyone's at a very early stage in their programme. For the first couple of years, it's probably quite right that the FIA has seized the power and energy spec to the system, so it's going to be worth about two or three tenths. I think next year, especially in the first six months, there's going to be a massive disparity in aerodynamics because I would be surprised if everyone got it right straightaway. You will probably have a couple of teams that get it really right and they are the ones that are going to be winning but then you're going to have the average and then probably a couple of teams that get it really wrong, just because they haven't had time or they haven't balanced this year's resources. So because of that, I think the effect of that difference in aero is going to swamp KERS for the first part of the year, if not the whole year, to be honest. But I think that's quite sensible because it's such new technology, there are lots of safety issues and performance issues and reliability things to sort out with it, that I think it should, for the first couple of years, be something that will give you a benefit but it's not going to lose you a championship if you don't have it. I think the FIA's intention, which is quite right, is that in three or four years, you will need it to be performing but by then everybody will have got their basic systems running and it will just be a matter of developing them. The big step is right now and trying to get the systems up and running and I think everyone's at various levels of their programme at the moment.

Adrian Newey:
With the current KERS regulations everybody's come down on either using a battery storage system or a flywheel. I don't think it's any secret that we are on battery. I think of the flywheels, as far as I know, everyone's mechanically-driven rather than using an electrical motor as the transfer mechanism. I guess, as Sam says, the obvious thing is for the KERS capacity to be increased in future years and indeed the longevity of the systems to be increased as well. At the moment, there's no minimum usage and so you can - and it may indeed be that some teams will - use a new battery for every race which becomes extremely expensive and is also ecologically slightly questionable but that's taking a short term view. I'm sure that as the technology develops and refines there will be a requirement for multi-race usage. Those sorts of things, perhaps combined with the amount of energy that you are allowed to store, that could change the balance between the various technologies, be it battery, super capacitor or flywheel. Until we know how the rules evolve, it's difficult to comment on that.

Q:
Could you just give us an idea of how much these batteries are?

AN:
As a financial thing, they are extremely expensive, there's no doubt about it. For the small teams KERS is a big overhead. Flywheel is potentially cheaper because you haven't got the cost of the battery but you've got all the mechanical development. The batteries are very expensive.

Pat Symonds:
I think KERS is a very interesting technical exercise. The development of it has been fascinating, and it's a chance for us to move into new areas which I think all engineers enjoy. The majority of our engineers are mechanical engineers or they're aerodynamicists or they're electronics guys but here we are dealing with high power electrical systems and things like that, so a lot of new stuff to learn. A difficult project, time-consuming and like Luca, it's our intention not to run it in a car until January. It's very, very expensive to build interim cars to look at these sorts of projects and we prefer not to do that, particularly with the sophistication of dynamometers these days, so all our practice work is being done on dynamometers and then we will build it into our car for next year and see how it performs on the track when hopefully we have de-bugged it from both mechanical reliability and very specifically from a safety point of view before we take it to the circuit.

Q: (Dan Knutson - National Speed Sport News).
Adrian, from running at the front edge of that mid-pack, Red Bull Racing seems to have slipped back, or perhaps other teams have caught up. What's happened in recent races here?

AN:
Certainly we slipped in the races immediately following Silverstone which is Hockenheim, Hungary and Valencia. I'm not exactly sure why, to be honest. Some of that is the nature of the circuit. Our sister team, Toro Rosso, has not slipped during those races, and the cars are, apart from the engine, identical in just about every way. The set-ups are extremely similar, so it's difficult to understand why Red Bull Racing has slipped in those races and Toro Rosso didn't. I think Red Bull Racing was competitive at Spa. The result was disappointing. I think we were on for a good result but obviously the tangle between Mark and Kovalainen cost us. We will see here.

Q: (Tetsuo Tsugawa - Tetsuo Enterprises).
Can you, as engineers, tell us about Hamilton's Spa manoeuvre, without politics, without penalty?

PS:
I don't think engineers should have opinions about things like this. I had an opinion but it really wasn't about that at all, it wasn't about that specific manoeuvre. I was merely making a point that I hope that we allow racing to be exciting and nothing more than that. There was no implied criticism of Lewis or anything like that.

Luca Marmorini:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Adrian Newey (GBR) Red Bull Technical Director, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 4-6th, April, 2008
Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, 4-6th, April, 2008
Pat Symonds (GBR) Technical Director Renault, Indianapolis F1, USA, 2007
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