Mclaren 2009 - race winning car without KERS? Discuss

fat jez

Race Winner
Valued Member
We know that McLaren managed to turn a dog of a car into a race winning one, but would this still have been the case had they not had KERS? I think much of their advantage came from that 80HP boost that allowed them to build enough of a lead that fast cars like the RB couldn't easily get close enough to overtake. But without that, I think they would have been also rans this season, probably finishing the championship mid table (5 or 6th) at best, instead of 3rd.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
It's an excellent point.

Without doubt McLaren made huge gains this season but they still have a serious downforce problem and the KERS system undoubtedly enabled them to do well on circuits with long straights and high speed sections.

At Abu Dhabi for example we could still see that the MP4-24 was several tenths slower in the technical sections compared to the Red Bull or Brawn cars.

Is the poor design/handling of the car due to incorporating KERS though?
Was the design compromised with regards to balance and other issues?

Who knows, by ditching KERS they may well be able to design out the problems and end up with an even faster car overall.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Thinking back to Singapore the McLaren was by no means the fastest car there with or without Kers.

The layout wasn't exactly conducive the the use of Kers and probably hindered with some of the breaking and yet Lewis wrestled that car to first place, so I think they'll do OK next year.
 

fat jez

Race Winner
Valued Member
Certainly, incorporating KERS brings compromises in terms of weight distribution, centre of gravity etc which next seasons car won't have (although did I read somewhere KERS is compulsory for the 2011 season?). I think it seems clear that Lewis had the ability to grab this year's car by the scruff of the neck and drag it into positions it didn't really deserve. It may actually turn out that Heikki wasn't anything like as average as he sometimes appeared, it was the car letting him down.

Abu Dhabi was clearly a circuit for those with KERS with that long straight allowing enough of a gap to be built up that was difficult to overcome in the technical sections at the end. We could clearly see Lewis pulling away with the 80HP advantage, only for Vettel to haul him in at the corners, but to not quite get close enough to overtake.

I think McLaren need to be very careful when designing next year's car. Base it too much on this season's car and I think a lack of down force could hurt them badly that a lack of KERS will prevent them from overcoming.
 
Will the KERS cars not be at an advantage next year?

I know this seems a strange comment and I may be way off the mark BUT...

KERS cars have been designed with a weight disadvantage and McLaren have now adapted their car to be competitive with this. Next year all cars have to start with a weight disadvantage of having a full fuel tank so does this not mean McLaren have a jump start for next year.

I know the weight of KERS is not the same as a full fuel tank but some teams will have to look at data from 1993!
 

fat jez

Race Winner
Valued Member
I'm not sure the KERS teams will be at an advantage next season. The cars all weigh the same anyway, as they tend to be brought up to the minimum weight by using ballast. All that happened this season was some of the ballast was off-loaded to offset the weight increase from KERS. The problem with doing this is you end up changing the balance of the car, as the place where you want ballast and the place where you need to put KERS are generally not the same, so the handling changes.

So purely from a weight point of view I see no advantage. From a weight distribution point of view, possibly.
 
fat_jez, you're probably right, at least ballast can be moved around to change weight distribution and COG, I suppose the tank position is probably dictated by FIA safety rules.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Without being an engineer, RBR and Brawn etc. will be coming in cold; whilst McLaren and Ferrari will have some understanding of compromised weight distribution.

Might help. I think McLaren's competitiveness was not only due to KERS; I think on the particularly slow circuits it was a brilliant car, and that bloke in the yellow helmet is often the difference.
 

fat jez

Race Winner
Valued Member
teabagyokel said:
Might help. I think McLaren's competitiveness was not only due to KERS; I think on the particularly slow circuits it was a brilliant car, and that bloke in the yellow helmet is often the difference.
Was this not down to the fact that it was a high downforce high drag car which didn't hurt them so much on the slower circuits? Force India did well at Spa where they managed relatively high levels of downforce with low levels of drag.

That and a certain bloke in a yellow helmet :thumbsup:
 
McLaren, race winning car when not driven by Lewis Hamilton?

KERS probably helped them mid season to make up some of the shortfall when their new aero package and short wheel base car was being rolled out but in the end it didn't make all the difference.

Also, wont the McLaren and Brawn be at a slight advantage next year anyway, didn't I read that the Mercedes engine is the most fuel efficient engine on the grid.
 

fat jez

Race Winner
Valued Member
rufus_mcdufus said:
I'd be incredibly surprised if McLaren don't use KERS next year. Ferrari possibly, Williams almost certainly.
Keep up at the back. :p The teams have a gentlemen's agreement in place not to use KERS.
 
rufus_mcdufus said:

I'd be incredibly surprised if McLaren don't use KERS next year. Ferrari possibly, Williams almost certainly.

fat_jez said :

Keep up at the back. :p The teams have a gentlemen's agreement in place not to use KERS.
Have you ever known Williams to keep to a gentlemens agreement?
 

fat jez

Race Winner
Valued Member
fedupwithuserids said:
Have you ever known Williams to keep to a gentlemens agreement?
Actually, they agreed recently not to race it. They were going against FOTA's plans to shelve KERS for this season.
 
Yeah, I know, but recently they have gone against agreements made within FOTA and sided with the FIA.

Williams in the end will do what is best for them as a team, gentleman agreements aside.
 
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