Todt: KERS a possibility for next season

FIA President Jean Todt has said that KERS may well be on the cards for a return to F1 in 2011.

The Kinetic Energy Recovery System was used by a few teams last season, but has been abandoned by most on the basis of cost and unreliability. In recent weeks its return has seemed possible as F1 continues to strive to be relevant to road-car technology.

Today, Todt told the Associated Press he was “very serious” about KERS making a comeback in 2011. He also emphasised that teams needed to be able to survive financially and the sport needed to be “an ambassador to new technologies.”

Kubica ‘realistic’ about Spain chances

Robert Kubica has warned his Renault team to remain ‘realistic’ about their chances of tackling the big teams at Barcelona.

The Anglo-French squad have impressed so far this season, finishing no lower than fifth in the hands of Robert Kubica. But with upgrades expected from all the teams, Renault recognise they might not be able to continue their run of form.

“The whole team is working hard and it’s good that we’re making the most of our opportunities in the races,” Kubica said.

“But it’s important to remain realistic because we still need some big steps to be at the front of the grid and fighting consistently with Red Bull and McLaren in normal conditions. The next race in Barcelona will be another big test for us because the return to Europe is usually a turning point in the season with many teams planning big upgrades to their cars.”

Lotus expect ”significant” improvement in Spain

Lotus Racing have said that they expect themselves to take a ”significant” step forward in terms of performance next time out in Barcelona.

The team’s technical director Mike Gascoyne has a number of upgrades to debut at the Circuit de Catalunya, all of which he hopes will translate into qualifying and race pace.

“We do expect it to be reasonably significant,” he said. “We have an aero package with revised sidepods, front wings and brake ducts and a number of mechanical changes, but obviously we’ll have to wait and see what step forward our rivals will also make.”

Although many teams are planning to run modifications in Barcelona, Gascoyne said that his would be more drastic than most because of the early shut-down of Lotus’ initial development programme, rushed because they needed to get on the grid in Bahrain.

“All the teams will have upgrades for Barcelona, but we’re hoping that ours is even more significant than our rivals’ because we received our entry so late and had to freeze the initial specification of the car very early in the design process.”

Hill: No choice but to upgrade Silverstone

BRDC President Damon Hill has said his organization had no choice but to upgrade the Silverstone track to bring it into the 21st century.

The revised circuit was opened last week and played host to a GT1 meeting yesterday, at which the new layout received mixed reviews. But Hill was adamant that the BRDC had made the right decision.

“It’s a necessary risk,” he is quoted by Autosport as saying. “The alternative was very possibly that the British Grand Prix would have gone off the calendar.

“There is a justification to demand first-class facilities if you have a first-class event like Formula 1, and others like MotoGP, but it has to make financial sense.

“We have been through one experience with Donington Park and it could be quite feasible that if the wrong financial decisions were made that you would end up with no British GP.”

Funding concerns had previously hindered plans to develop the track, but once the BRDC gained a minimum lease for the British Grand Prix, development could begin. Hill acknowledged the financial gamble the BRDC was effectively taking.

“[We are] certainly stretching [the budget] further than it has been stretched before. There was an understandable reluctance to take on too much risk, but event promotion and venue operating is a risk business.

“I’ve made my points clear I think over a number of times that I think that there is a case for some venues, particularly historical venues that have provided a really unique challenge in terms of the challenge to the sport, to be given a deal that given them a chance to develop.”

The 1996 F1 world champion also paid tribute to the British motorsport tradition.

“It is all full steam ahead, there is no way back from here. And we’ve been lucky and we are really relying a little on this country’s tradition of producing world-class drivers who potentially drive people through the gate.

“We’ve had them on a consistent basis since before the last war, and the whole time grand prix racing has been in existence, but there was a lull between Hunt and Mansell but we are trusting that we will continue to be at the front of the sport.”