KERS or Curse?


Champion Elect
It has been reported that BMW have suffered an incident, during the Jerez test, relating to their K.E.R.S. device.

Christian Klein "had just completed a three-lap installation run in the morning when he returned to the pits. ...the first mechanic to touch the car fell to the ground after receiving an electric shock. He was pulled to his feet by fellow team members and, after being examined in the medical centre, he was found to have suffered no serious injury."

Reported here, at

Coming on the heels of the Red Bull fire incident "after a battery system test of their KERS went wrong", is this technology proving to be a step too far, too soon, for F1? I know the drive for greater efficiency is high on the agenda, but is it proving too complicated to implement safely? Should it's inclusion be moved back a year?

I personally don't understand it :s so would like people's comments.


It all sounds a bit dodgy to me, surely theres a chance that the driver could get a nasty shock at high speed that could be extremely dangerous. I'm sure they'll sort it out

good job it wasn't wet!
I can't see KERs being pushed back a season unless all of the teams can agree on it. I think there are several teams that are quite far down the road with their KERs development and they would be very reluctant to give everybody else another year of work to get their systems right.

The only benefit we as fans will see from a kinetic energy recovery system is the fact that drivers can use it as a temporary boost in the same way an A1 gp car has a boost button. This should be another opportunity for increased over-taking.

I suppose all new systems will have their teething problems. It sounds like BMW's system built up a huge amount of static which discharged into the mechanic when he touched the car. When the cars enter the pits they normally pass over two metal strips (you can see them in the centre of the pit box) which should discharge the car before refuelling starts. The last thing you want when you plug the fuelling rig in to the car is a static discharge in to the rig. Obviously the car in question didn't pull onto an earthing strap and the mechanic acted as one instead. I expect he would have got a pretty big belt but the current would have been quite low so unless he was wearing a pacemaker he would have been shocked (if you'll pardon the pun) but otherwise fine.

Hair raising experience for the poor mechanic.

I'd be interested to know exactly what he touched though and if it was just the bodywork what part of the composite is it that conducts electricity?

I'm also guessing these KERS systems generate power and store as electricity but is it AC or DC or converted from one to another? AC tends to throw you of and DC you tend to stick to.. but don't try it home folks, i learnt testing electrical control panels years ago.

I'm sure some bright spark out there with huge technical knowledge can enlighten us
slickskid said:
DC you tend to stick to

Yeah, Ron Dennis spent years trying to get unattached! ;)

Surely we should be having safe technology. Isn't that what Max stands for (other than ... well, lets not get into it!)?

If KERS is a curse (I love that pun) we can't have it 'till its good, unless mechanics could wear some type of glove device! :p
I'm not really into technology, but from what has been explained to me, I can only see it as a dragon-slaying device. The whole system weighs about 35 kilos; the flywheel is lethal, irrespective of location (there are only so many places you can put it and all are within easy reach of the drivers body) and it's not even eco-friendly - a new battery is needed every race. Each battery costs a fortune and recyclyng them is just as expensive - plus the expense of getting new/dead batteries from A to B.

A very daft, and potentialy lethal idea - well done IFA!
Given that Thiesen of BMW was so keen, I'm surprised that it's been so hit and miss for them. In fact, I think the only team that's run it every race is McLaren (correct me if I'm wrong).

Maybe it's a bit early to judge, but I will anyway. ;) It looks a bit of a redherring. Teams would have been better off developing other parts of the car (BMW again!).

So the curse seems to be having developed it in the first place. Maybe Redbull's fire put them off at he right time!

But, given time, I reckon KERS could be essential. (gets back on fence...)
Well McLaren seem to have done a decent job with it but is that at the expense of the rest of the car?

Would McLaren have been better off concentrating on the basics such as downforce and aerodynamics?
Or would the MP4-24 be even slower without KERS?
At least nobody's been hurt - that's a mercy.

The teams that are running KERS say that they would be slower without it, and I believe them, but we don't know how fast their cars would be if they had devoted that development time and budget into a basic aero programme.

Mind you, let's not forget Honda were doing KERS at the same time as their new car, with the intention of running it. I think it may boil down to the calibre of technical staff at McLaren, Ferrari and BMW not being what it might be - the first two in particular have both lost big, experienced names, for a variety of reasons. In previous years each new car was just an evolution of the previous one - now they've had to do one from scratch they've struggled, probably because none of the senior designers have really been faced with that sort of challenge before.
i have a KERS related question. maybe this had been discussed before but i am a bit lost.

you read all kinds of opinions about the usage of KERS. one of these to this day escapes me and maybe someone here can shed light on this.

its the famous KERS at 100 km/h. people telling that KERS cannot be used under 100 km/h cos it would cause wheel spin and thus destroy the tyres. however, i cannot find any evidence for this, apart from one statement by heidfeld. what i can find are loads of articles in which is clearly stated KERS does make a difference at the start. for isntance statements from rosberg and newey both saying that a non KERS car has a definite problem at the start versus KERS cars.

i also read 2 other things: since an F1 car is so fast, reaching 100 km/h takes a few secs and then KERS can kick in. so it might look like its used at the start but in fact its a few seconds later. another one is that its actually not allowed to use KERS when going slower then 100 km/h.

i looked in the rules and regulations, nothing there about minimum or maximum speed. i looked at the description of the teams re KERS. no mentioning of anything but the technicalities of it all.

That must be particularly galling for McLaren as they have the best KERS system on the grid and with increased power available next year they would have been in a very strong position.

Is their poor performance this year as a result of spending too much time and effort on KERS at the expense of the rest of the car?

What a colossal waste of time any money.
[glow=#007700:15z20317]Well, F1's green credentials go down the drain quicker than you can say "it was Max's idea". Galling I think for McMerc, who produced a good KERS! KERS has gone because the frontrunners don't have it. Simple![/glow:15z20317]
Fat Bloke said:
And there it was, gone. How much money must the teams flushed down the bog on this little experiment?

So, it was KERS that was cursed! I always thought it charged too much. :yes:

But, as the article says, FOTA have got rid of it, does that mean that Williams can still develop their flywheel thingy? Steal a march on the rest next year, so to speak? :dunno:

And Teabag, that font colour hurts my eyesis, it does! :blink:
Just thought that you might be interested in information gleaned from a reliable source at the weekend.

Apparently Mercedes at Brixworth developed and produced the McLaren KERs system, not the Woking outfit. And Red Bull shut down their entire KERs department in March of this year.

Well, I never!!
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