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Page last updated at 17:52 GMT, Sunday, 21 June 2009 18:52 UK

BMW ditch Kers power-boost system

Robert Kubica
BMW Sauber last rans with Kers at the end of April at the Bahrain Grand Prix

BMW Sauber have abandoned their Kers energy storage and power boost system (Kers) for this season, saying they can improve their car without it.

The optional systems give cars a power boost of nearly seven seconds by re-applying energy recovered during braking.

But the systems are heavy and introduce design compromises into the cars and only Ferrari use Kers at the British Grand Prix.

"I would say if it isn't made mandatory it will disappear," said BMW Sauber team boss Mario Theissen on Saturday.

Last year BMW Sauber was the only team out of 10 on the grid to veto a bid to scrap the introduction of Kers into F1.

Kers was introduced by Max Mosley, the president of governing body the FIA because he believed it was vital to the future of the sport.

He hoped F1's use of the systems, which are similar to those in 'hybrid' road cars, would speed up their adoption by the public and protect the sport from accusations that it was wasteful at a time when climate change is rising up the politica agenda and fossil fuels are running out.

I would not say the technology is a flop, just the opposite

MBW Sauber boss Mario Theissen

But BMW only ran with it in the first four races of the season and, after evaluating whether to continue developing their car with Kers, Theissen said the team would not.

"We evaluated different alleys, proceeding with Kers or proceeding on the aero[dynamic] side and what could we do with no Kers on board," Theissen said at Silverstone.

"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 not run Kers this year."

Renault and McLaren have also used Kers, which provides drivers with an extra boost of power for 6.7 seconds per lap but also adds weight to the car.

The teams' umbrella group Fota (Formula One Teams' Association) recently agreed to scrap Kers next year and only McLaren and Ferrari are likely to run it over the remainder of this season.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said Kers had been a flop in F1.

The systems are expensive - teams have spent millions of Euros on the systems and it costs £350,000 a race to run - and some engineers say that had Kers been allowed to be more powerful they would have been more widely adopted.

As they are, the weight and packaging problems inherent in the system can easily outweigh the potential performance advantages.

Domenicali said: "We have to learn lessons from this.

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"For sure Kers is the future of the road car side, but we are here in an environment where there are a lot of compromises to make sure the new technology is beneficial for the performance of the car.

"The facts show that Kers in the way it is now is not ready to give performance under this set of regulations.

"F1 is vital in making technology transfer from the racing to the road car side. But we need to make sure that this is in line with the work we have to do to make sure we are winning on the track. Next time we have to think carefully because we don't want to make another mistake."

Theissen said Kers had not been a failure.

"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.

"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'll continue for some time because we've 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."

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see also
Teams agree to scrap Kers system
07 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari abandon Kers for China GP
16 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Brundle and McLaren explain Kers
26 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Explaining the Kers system
27 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Renault commit to F1 Kers system
18 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Williams opt against new system
18 Feb 09 |  Formula 1
F1 ready for racing revolution
04 Mar 09 |  Formula 1

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