FOTA ponders independent KERS option
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, May 4th 2010, 12:25 GMT|
The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) is weighing up an offer for an independent supply of KERS next season, AUTOSPORT has learned, as efforts are ramped up to get the technology back in the sport.
Renault and Ferrari have been leading the push to get KERS back in F1, because of pressures from their parent road car companies to increase the environmental message and technology transfer from F1. Their desire to see it back as soon as possible has also led Williams to support its return in 2011.
However, not all teams on the grid are so eager to get KERS back for next year and some would prefer to wait until 2013 - when new engine regulations are set to come into force.
One of the key issues that needs overcoming is the costs that the return of KERS would entail - especially for the sport's new contenders. And although Renault and Ferrari have offered to supply customer versions of their own units, not all their rivals are happy about that situation.
However, sources have revealed that any resistance could be overcome by an offer from British engineering company Flybrid, which has put a formal proposal to FOTA to supply its flywheel system to any F1 team that wants it in 2011.
Sources close to FOTA have told AUTOSPORT that Flybrid's offer is commercially attractive enough for it to be seriously evaluated as an option for next year, with FOTA set to discuss its latest thinking on the situation when it meets again ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
Flybrid has extensive knowledge of F1 technology, having worked closely with the former Honda team from 2007 on a KERS system that was going to be raced last year prior to the Japanese manufacturer's withdrawal from F1.
The knowledge that Flybrid gained from its work with Honda is now being applied to the road car industry, with one of its biggest clients currently Jaguar Cars as part of a government investment in future green technologies.
AUTOSPORT understands that Flybrid has the capacity to supply the whole grid if FOTA believes that is the best way forward, or equally would be able to supply any number of teams that required the technology.
Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne told AUTOSPORT that new teams like his would have trouble building their own KERS for 2011, but would be open to looking at any supply offers that made commercial sense.
"I think for us obviously the implementation of KERS is pretty difficult," he said. "We think it is very relevant, and we think it is a good message for the sport, but we think it makes a lot more sense to introduce it with a new engine in 2013.
"However, if it was offered for next year then we would have to have a look at it - but it would have to be commercially sensible."