Theissen: KERS criticism unfounded
|By Steven English and Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, January 20th 2009, 12:12 GMT|
BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen has hit back at claims that his team's decision to veto a delay in KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) has cost rival outfits millions of pounds in development costs.
On Monday, Renault team principal Flavio Briatore hit out at BMW's stance in not backing plans to delay the introduction of KERS until 2010.
"In this kind of environment it is completely unnecessary what we are doing," said Briatore. "But for sure BMW wanted to go to the end, so we had to follow that.
"It is difficult for us to have one competitor developing a programme and we are not part of it. We are talking about performance, but in this moment to support such a programme brings no good to anyone. What we know is we spend a lot of money for nothing. That is for sure."
But Theissen says such criticisms are unfounded. He thinks that a delay in allowing KERS would have been futile because teams would still have needed to keep spending money on developing the devices for 2010.
"We have had numerous discussions on KERS over the course of the last year, it's not new," said Theissen at the launch of his team's new F1.09 on Tuesday. "Some teams have always been opposed to it, others have been in favour of it.
"We probably have been the strongest supporter. In the past month we have discussed KERS within FOTA, and we have a clear agreement on how to proceed with regulations and how to come to a unanimous decision.
"This discussion was quite open and we came to the conclusion that, based mainly on our request - but not only our request, we would stick to KERS.
"Our position in the discussions has been that KERS is important for Formula One because it will put F1 into the role of a new technology pioneer. Obviously, we think KERS is important to BMW because we have put a lot of effort on it.
"We agreed that the cost of KERS was quite significant, but the real thing is that when we discussed it a month ago the money had been spent already on development, so it would be the worst thing to spend money on something you don't use.
"Even if you delay the introduction, no development project has become cheaper by delaying the introduction. In effect, all the teams would have developed KERS for another year before making use of it and that, in our view, doesn't make sense."
Teams are still discussing the possibility of making available a standard KERS for 2010 to help reduce costs.
Theissen felt that making a final decision on such a plan would need to wait for several months, so teams could see how their current systems are performing.
"This discussion is still on the table and I think we should wait a few months and see where we are," he said. "We should wait until the teams have gained the first experience, then look at the issue. At the moment the teams are in favour of a standard system for 2010."