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Renault may use KERS at Monza

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On: Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 10:48AM | By: John Welch

Renault may use KERS at Monza

Kinetic Energy Recovery systems were a hot topic before the 2009 F1 season got under way. Every team wanted the advantage of extra horsepower, but the drawbacks associated with the system proved to be insurmountable for most teams. BMW-Sauber went so far as to run KERS on Nick Hiedfeld's F109 chassis but not on Robert Kubica's car. Kubica you see, is not the size of a jockey, like most F1 drivers, and it was determined that managing weight distribution would be to difficult with him in the car. Kubica is a measly inch taller and fifteen pounds heavier than Hiedfeld. In a Formula one car that could be considered the difference between a thimble and an elephant.

Not Mclaren. Lewis Hamilton used his KERS system to dominate the Hungarian Grand Prix, taking the first win of the year for Mclaren and the first win for a KERS-equipped car. Last week in Valencia, Hamilton and teammate Heikki Kovalainen were able to stay in front of Rubens Barrichello and his superior BGP001 for the entire opening stint of the race. Rubens would've zipped around them after the second lap if it weren't for the Mclaren's extra 80 bhp boost per lap. Renault, who ran a KERS system at the beginning of the season, noticed Mclarens success and recognize the advantage provided by KERS on certain tracks.

Though they will not use the system this weekend during the Belgium Grand Prix, they are planning on fitting the system for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Monza features long straights and fast chicanes, making it a perfect place to re-debut Renault's version of KERS. The press release can be found at Formula1.com.

Interestingly, Formula One is not the first series to give "Push to Pass" systems a try. The now defunct CART championship used a different method to increase passing in its final years. Far more interesting to me than anything involving electricity, the CART system used a butterfly valve positioned within the engine's turbocharger. All CART teams ran a Cosworth turbocharged V8, and this valve could be opened for several seconds each lap to provide extra boost, allowing a driver to shoot past an opponent on a straight or defend his position with a burst of speed out of corners. It worked well, the drivers liked it, and it didn't involve any heavy batteries or complicated electronic control units. Ok, slightly less complicated ECUs, but you see my point. I want 1000 bhp motors that are boosted to the stratosphere in my top-level open wheel cars. Practicality and budgets be damned! I will concede that 'safety' cannot be damned, but then I've always felt like I was born three decades too late anyway.

Anyway, look for the Renault R29 to utilize the oft-panned KERS system next month at Monza. That will bring the total KERS teams to three: Mclaren-Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault.

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