It has been reported that as many as seven Formula 1 teams could begin and even complete the 2009 campaign without the new KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology.
According to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport
, only McLaren-Mercedes and BMW-Sauber are on-track in their development of the complex new energy-saving device, whilst other teams – defending constructors' world champions Ferrari chief amongst them – have encountered significant difficulties, with the Scuderia's
President Luca di Montezemolo having branded KERS 'a mistake' whose costs are 'very high' [see separate story – click here
Indeed, so great have been Ferrari's problems in its KERS collaboration with electronics partner Magneti-Marelli, it has been claimed, that the Maranello-based outfit is now working on its own system, possibly in conjunction with Peugeot's sportscar project.
“At the end of February, we must determine whether to proceed with or without KERS,” admitted Ferrari engine and electronics director Gilles Simon.
Renault and Toyota are also said to be running behind in their KERS projects, with Toyota having confessed that it is unlikely to begin the season with the technology and Renault also supplying the device to customer outfit Red Bull Racing, and Ferrari doing likewise for Scuderia Toro Rosso. Williams, too, uniquely making use of a flywheel for the storage of energy, is understood to be behind schedule.
The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) tried and failed to get KERS' debut delayed for a year, and with F1's new in-season testing ban, introducing it after Melbourne will be no easy task. It is hoped that a standard solution will be found for 2010.
In his letter to FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo this week, meanwhile, Max Mosley revealed that he is unhappy with the current trend towards battery-operated KERS systems.
“We are increasingly of the view that the use of chemical storage should be prohibited in Formula 1,” the FIA President said, “owing to the unsuitability of the batteries currently available.”