Formula One?s governing body FIA have revealed that the premier motorsport class will be making the move to hybrid drivetrains, starting in 2010. While the announcement comes from left field, we shouldn?t be too surprised. With the environment and CO2 emissions on every developed nations agenda, Formula One are treading the smart path and plan to be seen to be green. The alternative has probably got the F1 marketing and accounting folk coming over all feverish.
The hybrid system that will be adopted is called KERS or Kinetic Energy Recovery System and it will be phased in over a period of a few years with full implementation being carried out by 2013.
The KERS hybrid system stores energy that would normally be lost when the car brakes and allows the redeployment of that energy at the touch of a button. Working a bit like an ?over-boost? feature found on some turbocharged cars, at the push of a button it will allow the stored energy to be used when overtaking or in situations when a quick burst of power and torque is helpful.
One can only guess at the enormous cost of developing a system such as this for a race category, a cost that will be borne by the race teams. Ferrari is said to be less than pleased claiming that this decision flys in the face of FIA?s desire to reduce the costs involved in F1. However Ferrari is likely to recoup some of the costs involved by selling the system to other teams including Force India and Scuderia Toro Rosso who already use Ferrari engines.
Michael Schumacher on the other hand, believes that the introduction of a hybrid system will hold long term benefits for the environment and future road cars. We all know that Michael is correct.
This decision will likely mean that Formula One will not be adopting diesel engines as was rumoured last year ? at least not in the foreseeable future.