Heidfeld optimistic about KERS The Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) is new to Formula One in 2009; the device will effectively use kinetic energy, built up under braking, and convert this to electrical energy as a means of supplying the engine with extra power, courtesy of a boost button on the cars' steering wheels which should allow overtaking to be easier.
BMW was the first team to experiment with the new device, which operates via the car's battery; this initially caused concern when one of the team's mechanics was electrocuted in Jerez. "That was not so funny," driver Nick Heidfeld told the official F1 website. "After that a lot of thought went into it and since then there have been no further issues." Mechanics can now be seen wearing rubber gloves to avoid similar incidents occurring, with metal plates in pit boxes to earth the charge.
The sport's governing body, the FIA, is hoping to allow Formula One to be a role model for KERS before using a similar system on road cars of the future; "Reliability seems quite good," the German continued. "We are testing it quite often to understand the benefits that we will hopefully have. We have not decided yet whether to use it in Melbourne or not - it could even be the case that we use it at some tracks and not others. On fast tracks with long straights for example, yes. But on low speed circuits like Monaco, no. As I said though nothing is decided yet."
Not all teams will be using KERS at the first race as much development work is still taking place, which could give teams with the system an advantage when attempting to pass those without it. "First of all it will be very interesting to see who will run it at the first race and who will not," Heidfeld explained. "For overtaking, it could help if you have it and the car in front of you doesn't, otherwise it will be pretty similar and will become more of a tactical tool which will be interesting as well.
As for the difference between the teams, I must say I am very surprised to see how close together they all are. We have seen massive rule changes for this season and I was sure that, at the beginning, there would be miles between the teams. But, in reality, the difference is very small."
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