FOTA eager to work on KERS solution

The Formula One Teams' Association is open to KERS remaining in Formula 1 next season, despite Renault boss Flavio Briatore claiming last week that it wants to ban the system

FOTA eager to work on KERS solution

The future of the regenerative energy system will be discussed at next week's FOTA meeting, with several team bosses insisting that although the dropping of KERS was an option, it is not the favoured course of action, with a move to the mooted common system most likely.

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal of McLaren-Mercedes believes it is essential that KERS remains in F1, even though there is pressure to ban it within FOTA.

"There are a lot of people within FOTA who want KERS banned because it's very expensive and challenging, and I understand that.

"The position of this team is that F1, having taken the initiative of introducing something which is technologically interesting and relevant to the future would be wrong to back away from it.

"But, at the same time, we recognise that the timing isn't ideal and it's a very costly technology. The conversations in FOTA should be focused on how we can make this technology affordable to all."

Toyota F1 president John Howett, whose team is not running KERS despite having tested its own system, believes that making it affordable, possibly through the mooted common KERS supplier, is the most likely direction.

"It is one option, but I don't think it is the option that is being pushed," said Howett when asked by AUTOSPORT whether FOTA wants a KERS ban.

"The general direction at the moment is that we should try to have KERS at an affordable and accessible price, and until that is denied then that is the preferred option.

"My understanding is that there is a tender being released and if that package cannot be achieved then we maybe have to discuss them. Do we accept a modification of the dream package, or do we actually drop it?"

BMW-Sauber team principal Mario Theissen added that, far from wanting to drop KERS, FOTA is keen to find a way to keep the technology in F1.

"We will definitely talk about the KERS situation [in FOTA]," said Theissen. "We have agreed on a common path and that's not to push KERS out. It would be good to have an exchange of ideas with the FIA in order to find common ground."

Whitmarsh suggested that he will be raising the possibility of the sport encouraging KERS usage by making it more of a competitive advantage. So far, no KERS car has won a grand prix and only one car with the technology - Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber in Malaysia - has finished on the podium. However, he accepts that this is unlikely to find widespread support.

"If we're going to proliferate KERS we are probably going to have to skew a little bit towards it," said Whitmarsh. "We've had to fight to be on the weight and that has cost us a lot of money, so maybe you can save some money by increasing minimum weights.

"You would think we would increase the amount of energy and the power you can use with your KERS system at the moment but none of those things are going to be supported by the majority so we are going to have to be pragmatic."

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