Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ferrari abandon Kers for China GP

Struggling Ferrari will not use their energy storage and power boost system (Kers) at the Chinese Grand Prix in a bid to get their season back on track.

Without a point in two races so far, the reigning constructors' champions have made their worst start since 1992.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali said Kers had given Ferrari a performance benefit - but they had encountered reliability problems with it in Malaysia.

"We are not happy and we must react immediately," he said on Thursday.

Ferrari are the first team to drop Kers (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), having used it on both Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen's cars in Australia and Malaysia, although they may go back to using it in the future.

"We found a problem with the Kers on Kimi's car in Sepang and we have therefore decided not to run with it in Shanghai," said Domenicali.

"We need to understand what happened to the system from the point of view of safety and reliability.

"It has delivered a performance benefit, but if it is not running safely and reliably, we can no longer take the risk of running it.

"This weekend, we must therefore do the best we can with what we have and await the new developments on the car, while going back to basics in every area."

Kers technology stores energy from braking, which can then be used at driver discretion to provide a brief power boost for up to six seconds per lap.

The teams that have used Kers so far this season - Renault, Ferrari, McLaren, and BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld - have had mixed success.

Though Kers provides added straight-line speed, the device does add extra weight to the car - causing tyre-wear and handling issues for some drivers.

Despite being taller and heavier, BMW's Robert Kubica has decided he will join team-mate Heidfeld in using the technology in China, having opted out in the opening two races.

"We will have to test it and see. In Malaysia, but also in Australia, it was an advantage," said Kubica, who is has yet to finish a race this season having crashed out after 55 laps in Melbourne before retiring after just one lap at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

"But, running on my car there are some disadvantages that are bigger than for the other drivers, but I still hope the advantage will be bigger than the disadvantage."

Kers is a new innovation for this season as part of a series of changes designed to make overtaking easier and, subsequently, Formula 1 racing more exciting.

The Shanghai circuit includes two lengthy straights which may give drivers employing Kers an advantage.