Following the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) shock received by a BMW/Sauber mechanic earlier this week, Autosport reports Toyota may not have their KERS system ready in time for the start of the 2009 season. Toyota F1 team president John Howett expressed concern about the new technology in an interview, saying "Whether [the issues] can be overcome to a satisfactory, safe level before the first race, I can't hand-on-heart tell you." Fans, on the other hand, are expressing great interest in the electrified lithium-ion-coated exploding-battery fest that the 2009 season promises to become.
While Team Honda is believed to be the first organization racing with an active KERS system, the fact that Toyota, acknowledged as world leaders in hybrid technology, is admitting potentially insurmountable problems may lend credibility to calls for postponing KERS implementation. The system is intended to recover energy during braking, allowing it to be stored for later use as an electrical "boost" when needed.
We think the introduction of KERS could provide a new reason to watch what's become a rather dull sport, at least for the first season, as fans tune in to see how things play out. At the same time, if the system can't be proven safe above all else — not just for the drivers and mechanics, but also safe for track workers, rescue personnel, and spectators who could be in the vicinity of an accident — then rushing KERS into the program is a recipe for disaster. And, of course, higher TV ratings.
[Autosport.com; Photo Credit: AutoCult.com.au]