“It is very unlikely that at the first race we will have a safe and reliable KERS that will add performance benefits. I am not saying that after some time it won't, but there are some pretty big issues,” admitted Toyota's team president John Howett shortly after the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend.
Toyota's announcement didn't come as a shock to anyone in the media, as McLaren's Ron Dennis previously admitted that he had information about at least one team not making it to the Australian Grand Prix next season with a functional KERS unit.
“I do resent that people have mentioned that. It was a genuine meeting of absolute confidence,” Howett slammed Dennis' statement.
The International Automobile Federation allowed teams to implement their new KERS technology as early as 2009, while the unit will only become mandatory starting 2010. Nevertheless, most of the teams' efforts this season focused on developing their power trains for 2009 with KERS, with BMW and Honda being in pole position for starting next season with a newly-developed unit.
Soon after the FIA – FOTA (Formula One Teams' Association) meeting in Geneva last month, most F1 teams have began pressing the FIA to delay the new technology for later in the 2009 season or even in 2010. There are a number of teams having problems with developing their KERS unit – Ferrari, Toyota, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Force India – but FIA is yet to make a decision when the new technology will be available in F1.