BMW abandons KERS for good

BMW Sauber has abandoned its Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for good, because it thinks it can improve its car performance more without the hybrid technology

BMW abandons KERS for good

Although the Hinwil-based outfit was alone in vetoing a bid last year to abandon KERS in Formula 1 because it felt the technology was vital for the sport, it confirmed at Silverstone on Saturday that it was shelving its system.

The team only raced with KERS in the first four races of the season, and has not run it since the Bahrain Grand Prix after choosing to instead focus on aerodynamic developments on its car that were introduced in Spain.

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said the team had spent the last few weeks evaluating whether or not to press on with KERS, but in the end opted to ditch it.

"We evaluated different alleys, proceeding with KERS or proceeding on the aero side and what could we do with no KERS on board," he explained.

"We had made some significant progress on the aero side which does not allow to fit KERS, and we have taken a decision just a few days ago to no more run KERS this year because we see a more promising alley in developing the aero."

With only the two Ferrari cars running with KERS at the British Grand Prix, there have been suggestions that the introduction of the technology was a flop.

But Theissen insists that some benefit has come inside his car company thanks to the efforts put into the F1 project.

"I would not say the technology is a flop, just the opposite," he said. "Given the very short development time it has been a huge success to get it up and running reliably and our system really works fine. We didn't have any flaws, not even in Malaysia in the torrential rain. It is depending on the set of regulations you have.

"If you want to push an innovation then you have to fully focus on it. If it is not mandatory to have the system on board, then now KERS is basically out-performed on the aero side. And I have to say what we have achieved at least within BMW has been transferred already to the road car side.

"Our engineers are currently supporting the road car R&D department and that will continue for quite some time because we have learned an awful lot which is applicable to not just hybrid cars but also electric vehicles and conventional cars, because a battery is on any car."

With the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) having proposed recently for KERS to be dropped next year, there is very little chance of the technology continuing in F1.

Only McLaren and Ferrari are now likely to run it over the remainder of the season.

And Theissen reckons that even if KERS remained an option in the rules, it was almost certainly not one that would be taken up by teams.

"I would say if it isn't made mandatory it will disappear," he said. "That is just natural. It is a pity in my view because this has been a unique chance to really position F1 as a technology carrier, as a pioneer of innovative technology, and it would have been very good in the current economic climate for F1 as a whole."

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