BMW Defend KERS Debut

On the occasion of BMW Sauber's unveiling of their 2009 challenger – the F1.09 – in Valencia earlier today, BMW's motorsport director Mario Theissen took the opportunity to answer the criticism issued by some team principals in F1 regarding the introduction of KERS from as early as 2009.

Flavio Briatore insisted yesterday that using KERS in 2009 is both unsafe and expensive, as the introduction of the new system comes in a time when everybody is focused on cutting down expenses rather than keep investing in new technologies. He also revealed that all teams wanted to delay the unit by 2010 except for BMW Sauber. And, without a unanimous vote within FOTA, the proposition to postpone KERS until 2010 was denied.

Also, Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali blamed BMW for following their own interest rather than think of the Formula 1's, as developing the new unit would only increase costs inside the sport in the near future.

Theissen, on the other hand, argued that the teams have already spent a lot of money on developing the unit before the economic crisis came into play and insisted it would have been nonsense to postpone it. Also, putting the new technology on hold until 2010 would only increase costs, as teams would therefore keep investing in it throughout the upcoming season. Nevertheless, the BMW official revealed that his team was not the only one sustaining the introduction of KERS from 2009.

“We probably have been the strongest supporter. In the past month we have discussed KERS within FOTA, and we have a clear agreement on how to proceed with regulations and how to come to a unanimous decision. This discussion was quite open and we came to the conclusion that, based mainly on our request - but not only our request, we would stick to KERS. Our position in the discussions has been that KERS is important for Formula One because it will put F1 into the role of a new technology pioneer.,” said Theissen.

“We agreed that the cost of KERS was quite significant, but the real thing is that when we discussed it a month ago the money had been spent already on development, so it would be the worst thing to spend money on something you don't use.”

“Even if you delay the introduction, no development project has become cheaper by delaying the introduction. In effect, all the teams would have developed KERS for another year before making use of it and that, in our view, doesn't make sense,” said Theissen.
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