Back in 2009, only a few teams moved quickly enough to develop some sort of KERS for F1, but the unit's efficiency was poor due to the short development time provided by the FIA. Given also the high costs involved in improving such a technology and considering the worldwide economic crisis, the members of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) decided to sign a gentleman's agreement not to use KERS in 2010.
That gave them enough time to either develop the unit themselves, or talk to some other manufacturers to do that. Additionally, the FIA decided to change the technical rules a little bit in order to help the technology have a greater impact on the competition in 2011. The minimum weight of an F1 car has been increased by 20 kg, in order to give the engineers enough cushion to use ballast for a better weight distribution.
Speaking about weight distribution, the FIA also decided to apply a mandatory 46:54 ratio, meaning that this particular aspect of the car would not be influenced by the use of KERS.
“There is no other option than to go with KERS,” Force India's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer was quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
In addition, the overall cost of a KERS unit has dropped to only one million euros, in case one team wants to purchase the unit from a developer. In case the organization wants to run its own development programme for the unit, the FIA has imposed a 5 million euros cap for KERS.
Even so, it's yet uncertain whether all the established F1 teams will use KERS in 2011 or not – the technology is not mandatory next season, but will be soon enough – as Force India and Sauber are still to announce anything on this topic. What's certain is that the new teams will not use it.
From the current F1 pack, only Williams F1 has committed to running a mechanical-based flywheel KERS, as the other outfits have gone for an electrical system.