Another critic of Formula 1's innovative KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology has emerged just days before the start of the 2009 season in Melbourne - with highly-respected former designer Gary Anderson describing the devices as 'detrimental to the car's performance' and 'a bit of a lost cause'.

Governing body the FIA has come under fire from a number of quarters of late, from its controversial - and subsequently reversed - new means of determining how the world championship is won, to the row over the legality of some teams' diffusers and the fairness of some competitors introducing KERS sooner than others.

Anderson argues that, somewhere along the line, 'some sense has to come into it' - and he dismissed the notion that those teams that utilise the system will automatically steal a march on their rivals.

"As far as the FIA regulations are concerned, it's one of those things where you don't have to have it, but some sense has got to come into it, I think," the Northern Irishman told Radio on the subject of KERS. "If you're a team that has it, for that time down the straight where you have your six or seven seconds of power, you will have an advantage - but as far as overall lap time is concerned, I think there's very, very little in it to be honest.

"It's detrimental to the car's performance because of the extra weight - the car won't necessarily be overweight, but the weight won't be in the right position. Reliability could become an issue too.

"I think if the Formula 1 teams have got any sort of organisation between themselves, they should be able to sit down and say 'look, we're not ready to play ball yet, so let's put this off until the first European race in Barcelona and then for sure we can go and run it, but cancel it in those first three flyaway races and carrying all these batteries and bits and pieces and new technology to them'.

"As I say, if one team has it, they will have an advantage on that one straight when they press a button, but the other teams will probably be at an advantage as far as lap times are concerned. It's a compromise. The whole thing is a bit of a lost cause in my opinion."

Renault is the only one of the sport's ten teams to have thus far confirmed that it will be introducing KERS in the Australian Grand Prix, with Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes expected to do likewise. BMW-Sauber and Red Bull Racing remain undecided, whilst Toyota, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Williams, Force India and the pace-setting Brawn GP outfits are understood to be preparing to delay their respective debuts of the contentious energy-saving equipment.

Another topic that has provoked fierce debate within the F1 paddock is that of the new front wings, with many - BMW stars Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld chief amongst them - forecasting a particularly 'lively' first corner Down Under. Anderson warns that if that is the case, the consequences could be serious indeed.

"It wouldn't surprise me," he responded, when asked if wings are likely to fly. "Obviously there's a hidden area there in front of the front tyre where you can't see anymore, and we've seen front wings knocked off in the past. Now the front wing is 200mm wider each side and there's a hidden area, so it would be very easy to tap somebody and knock the front wing off.

"The big problem for me is that the front wing is the main front downforce-producing device on the car now, and if that wing does fall off at high speed going down the straight when the load is at its highest, it would leave you with no front downforce. It wouldn't surprise me to see many of the cars unstable if that happened.

"It will be something that the drivers will have to respect, because obviously that's not something you want to do at the start of a race that is about 300km-long, not one kilometre-long. You have to respect these sorts of things, but accidents do happen, as we've seen many times."

As to the regulation changes in general, the former Jordan and Stewart design guru reflected that in his opinion the new rules would play in the favour of those who are intelligent or brave enough to innovate - arguing that the top flight's engineers are effectively having to throw all the knowledge they have gained over the past decade or so completely out of the window and start over again.

"I've been involved in Formula 1 in one way or another since 1972," Anderson explained, "and I've seen a couple of changes during that period. Probably the regulations have been tinkered with for the last ten years, but nothing too dramatic, so the engineers involved in the design of the cars over those ten years have learned in a certain way.

"The change in regulations has caused the loss of all the bits that stick out around the outside of the car - as downforce-producing devices - which is simple enough, in terms of taking them all off and tidying it up. The biggest change is going to be in the front wing and rear diffuser characteristics. The rear of the car is something that's not going to be as powerful as it was before as far as producing downforce is concerned, and the front wing is going to be as powerful if not more powerful, because it's closer to the ground.

"Developing the car is going to be a completely different philosophy to the last ten years of evolution, which have taught the engineers in a different manner. They're going to have to do a bit of lateral thinking."




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