BMW Doubt KERS Debut in Australia

Although they were the first team to begin development on their Kinetic Energy Recovery System, BMW Sauber might not debut the unit at the season opener in Australia. BMW's Motorsport director Mario Theissen admitted that his team is not ready to introduce the new unit into the F1.09 but is confident that, considering the immense improvement in KERS development throughout the previous year, the system will be implemented in the first part of 2009.

“KERS is still the most challenging and exciting part of the new package to me. Looking back to when we started more than a year ago on KERS, that time was pure research. Then we went through a stage I would call pre-development. Now we are in the development stage. We are still not ready to race, but if I look at what progress we have made in last 12 months, it's amazing. We have learned so much,” said Theissen.

“We are still pushing hard. We are not ready yet. I am sure we will be ready at some point, I don't know whether we will be ready for Melbourne. That is the character of innovation, you take risks and you don't know when they will pay off. I'm pretty sure it will pay off at some point in the season and that it might become the crucial factor,” added the BMW official.

The season opener will get under way on January 27th – with the race being scheduled two days later – in Australia. Several teams have dismissed the possibility of using the technology from as early as Malbourne, including Ferrari, Renault or Toyota. Even Williams F1, who opted for a flywheel-based KERS (therefore minimizing the risk of battery-discharge-related accidents, in the case of electrical units) revealed that finalizing their KERS unit is not a priority ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari and Renault – through the voices of team principals Stefano Domenicali and Flavio Briatore – blamed BMW Sauber for the early debut of KERS into Formula 1. When the proposition for delaying the technology until 2010 was made last year, the BMW officials did not agree and used their veto right within FOTA to stop its postponement.
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