In a letter to the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), FIA president Max Mosley said that he believes mechanical Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) are preferable to the battery systems currently being devised by several teams, and that battery-based systems should be banned.
Beginning this year, Formula One teams can implement a KERS system that can convey a maximum up 60 kW and store up to 400 kJ (.111 kWh) per lap. Teams are working on KERS units with two types of storage: mechanical (e.g., flywheel), and chemical (e.g., battery).
The stored kinetic power is released using a boost button that delivers a burst of extra power to the car for a short period—for example, while overtaking a competitor or defending a position. KERS is not mandatory, and teams can work together on a common KERS.
We are increasingly of the view that the use of chemical storage (in particular batteries) should be prohibited in Formula One owing to the unsuitability of the batteries currently available. There are at least two mechanical or electro-mechanical systems under development for Formula One and there may be others as well as hydraulic systems.
Formula One would benefit from systems with more capacity than the present, (for example maxima of: 2MJ [0.56 kWh] stored, 150kW in, 100kW out) but still very small and very light, as is essential in Formula One. These figures are theoretically possible with mechanical devices, but not feasible in the foreseeable future using batteries and/or capacitors. Such non-chemical devices, if successfully developed, would have a very significant impact on road transport and other applications.—Max Mosley
At least one F1 team has signed up to use the Flybrid mechanical KERS system (earlier post). Bosch Motorsport is developing a modular Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for use in motor racing that covers racing requirements from Formula 1 to series such as the DTM or 24-hour races.
In the Bosch system, either a lithium-ion battery with scalable capacity or a flywheel energy storage device is used for storing energy. The latter can store up to 750 kilojoules (0.208 kWh) of energy. The electric motors weigh between four and eight kilograms with a maximum power level of 60 kW. (Earlier post.)
Mosley’s letter to FOTA was, in general, a call for further cost-cutting.
As already mentioned, the financial barriers to entry were already too high before the current world financial crisis. We had a Championship dependent on the willingness of world’s car industry to continue spending vast sums on Formula One racing and the few remaining independent teams (with one exception) entirely reliant on the generosity of their billionaire owners. In current circumstances, it would be crazy to assume this can continue. Costs must be reduced to a point where a well-run independent team can operate profitably with just the FOM money and very moderate sponsorship.—Max Mosley