Williams technical director Sam Michael has hinted that the team may opt not to begin the 2009 Formula One season with its flywheel-based Kinetic Energy Recovery System, and instead focus on ensuring that their new FW31 is reliable.
Williams are the only team not to have gone with a battery KERS device, but Michael says that while the new technology will be of benefit to them, optimising the new-for-'09 aerodynamic package is more important in the short term.
"It's very difficult to sign off KERS in time for Melbourne with all the other things we are trying to do," he said at the launch of the car in Portugal.
"We are trying to make sure that the cooling and gearbox and everything else on the car is working first, and we are also concentrating on making sure our mechanical and aerodynamic package is optimised before we try and get KERS on the car.
"Because if you get something wrong on the aerodynamics or you get something wrong mechanical, you can lose seconds.
"Whereas KERS, even when you have everything 100% reliable is worth two and a half or three tenths.
"It's important," he added, "and that two and a half or three tenths will be important during the season, but to start with it will be swamped by the aero and getting the setup of the car right around the slicks and making sure all the mechanicals don't break."
With a ban on in-season testing now implemented as the teams focus on reducing costs in Formula One, Michael has admitted that developing new components will be more difficult, but believes it will still be possible to evolve KERS effectively during the year.
"Reduced testing makes introducing any new component during the season difficult, but not impossible," he said. "We can use Fridays for this and obviously you have dynos and rigs in the factory to sign things off as well.
"Introducing KERS during the season, if you don't start with it won't be easy, but it's not impossible."