Todt pressing for early KERS return
3 June 2010
FIA president Jean Todt has admitted that he hopes to see the controversial KERS technology return as early as next season, despite some factions wanting to delay a U-turn for two or three years.
The Formula One fraternity voted to suspend use of the so-called 'green' technology for 2010 after a disappointing - and expensive - year in which only a handful of teams ran it, and fewer still persisted in doing so through to the final race. BMW, the biggest proponent of KERS, not only abandoned its system before the end of the year, but is also no longer involved in F1, citing the cost of both competing and achieving success.
Despite the German marque's exit, there is a groundswell of support for the voluntary suspension to be dropped for 2011, especially if the cost can be contained and technology shared, and Todt is keen to see that carried through, even though some teams, notably the Colin Kolles-led HRT, have spoken out against the reintroduction.
“I am not happy that the teams voted unanimously against using KERS for the 2010 season,” Todt revealed to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, “and I am personally committed to having this position reconsidered for 2011. We cannot discuss the use of green technology in the rest of the automotive industry and watch F1 do nothing. I'm optimistic that I can still persuade the teams [to reinstate KERS for 2011]."
Although he admits to having no particular lever by which to persuade the teams to accede to his wishes, Todt makes it clear that he is not prepared to wait until the next generation of F1 engine comes on stream before seeing KERS become a staple ingredient for the category.
“We cannot afford to do nothing for two-and-a-half years," he insisted, “The pressure on us every day greater and, as the head of the FIA, I feel there needs to be progress in this direction. It's the only way we can be credible. I only want to see good races, that's enough for me, but we cannot demand new technologies for road cars and then ignore them at the racetrack. Unfortunately, in F1, the desire for change is missing, but we have to change because the world keeps on turning."
Whether Todt gets his wish and sees KERS fully reinstated by the time his tour of duty is up rests largely on the teams, but the 64-year could yet preside over the ongoing discussions should they extend beyond his current tenure, having admitted that he is not necessarily preparing to step down after four years.
“It's not true [that I am considering stepping down in 2013],” he said, “Nevertheless, I am not thinking today about the second term of office. My priority is to use my time as effectively as possible to reach my goals of reducing costs, improving the show, introducing new technologies and using, if possible, the image of sport to make the roads safer. If we succeed, the manufacturers, suppliers and sponsors will come back but, if we do not, then racing has a real problem."