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Red Bull using 'start-only' compact KERS? UPDATE See related Hot News article.

03/26/11 (GMM)  Red Bull is using an innovative super-compact KERS system this year, according to the latest paddock rumor.

After Sebastian Vettel powered to a dominant pole in Melbourne late on Saturday, FIA press conference moderator James Allen told the reigning world champion he had not noticed him pressing a KERS button during qualifying.

"We didn't use it in qualifying, that's correct," answered the German.

Asked why, Vettel said bluntly: "Not fully charged."

But while Lewis Hamilton not using KERS during Q3 at Albert Park was due to a failure in his Mercedes unit, it emerged that Vettel's teammate Mark Webber also not using KERS may have been for tactical reasons.

"We didn't run it today for reasons we will keep in the team," said the Australian.

It is rumored that Red Bull's KERS may be solely for use at the start of a race, with the unit charged in the garage rather than under braking while the car is running.

The 'start-only' KERS could theoretically be smaller and lighter, while not affecting the handling on track because the battery is not charged while the car is braking.

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that Lewis Hamilton set his lap for second on the Melbourne grid minus the use of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). This meant that the 2008 World Champion’s car would simply be subject to an added weight, which in-turn causes distribution problems.

“Lewis could have gone a bit quicker still, had he not suffered a KERS Hybrid failure,” the Team Principal explained.

“As a result of that failure, he lost not only the performance dividend that KERS Hybrid provides, but also had to cope with compromised brake balance resulting from the absence of KERS Hybrid - a double whammy, if you like.”

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