News and views on motorsports

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

KERS Is Bullshit

By many accounts, KERS is primitive. And yet Herr Max is pushing as if it was the second coming. To me its just bullshit window dressing and the sad fact is many are buying into the hype.

The idea is that all energy spent under braking will be stored and released into electrical propulsion at the touch of a button. Limits will be placed of course and the use of this power boost will be restricted to once every lap. Quite how they will control this per lap I am none too sure.

Power boosts are nothing new. We have all seen it in Indycars and A1GP. However, as both these series have demonstrated its use by a driver wishing to overtake can simply be countered by the other driver defending the line by activating his own power boost. The sum total benefit of it amounts to bugger all. In fact, KERS is projected to release up to 10% more power to the wheels. So if we conjecture that the modern V8 produces 750 bhp, this releases around 75 bhp. Fat lot of good this will do. At Monaco for instance it bloody well makes no difference. And the same goes for a great majority of circuits as well. So much for the actual racing.

How about its possible contribution to road relevance? Luca Marmorini of Toyota, the makers of the best selling Prius hybrid, has flat out stated that it is a primitive device. One would imagine the Prius has far more sophisticated energy recovery systems. So you can chuck that in the bin. And as I have said many times, Formula 1 should be the pinnacle of racing technology. Let the boffins in the car labs handle the saving of the world.

Quite recently Max had said, in a letter to the FIA detailing why he should be allowed to stay on as FIA president, that costs in Formula 1 are skyrocketing. Well, does he really believe that the introduction of this technology will bring it down further? Thats even more bullshit. It surely will send costs flying even higher. The introduction of any new regulation and associated technology or technological development has a habit of doing this. Quite how one can believe Mosley's dream of containing costs is beyond me.

The only logical reason for having this technology introduced into Formula 1 is to create the illusion, the perception that the manufacturers and the sport cares about green issues, whilst the implementation itself does nothing for it. And why should a sport that has dedicated itself to being the pinnacle of the art and science of going fast care about these things? After all the teams care about only one thing. Winning. The rest is just total crap waste of time.

With enough press releases and press conferences with Max Mosley doing his level best to persuade the "casual fan" of its benefits, maybe these fools will start to believe it. And you know what? They probably will.

When all is said and done the manufacturers do care about the illusion if it helps them sells cars. And here it is, isn't it? The sport subsumed to the needs of the big manufacturers. And to one power mad prick who is all out to win glory for himself for supposedly doing the "right thing."


Steven said...

I totally agree with you. It doesn't make sense to me that the FIA should mandate the development of any specific technology. It is so arbitrary. They should just ban gasoline and let the teams figure out what to do next.

Also, as you rightly pointed out, push-to-pass buttons are a stupid idea.

Claudia said...

you guys should go to the showcase of Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) Design Challenge Europ in October in Paris. A group of students from KTH, Sweden have come up with a brilliant idea for kinetic energy recovery. You will be impressed.