Renault Team Principal Flavio Briatore has brandished the decision to introduce KERS devices this year as a “terrible mistake” expressing his concern at the costs involved in developing the systems.
For several teams, including McLaren, Williams and Renault, today marked the first opportunity to run the devices on the full 2009 spec cars as testing kicked off at the Algarve Motor Park circuit in Portugal.
The Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), which harness waste energy under braking and convert it into additional power for the driver, have been the cause of much controversy with Renault leading an attempt to delay their introduction in 2009 at last year’s Chinese Grand Prix.
With less than three months before the start of the season only two teams, McLaren and BMW, are believed to be running to schedule with their KERS development programme.
Briatore has joined his opposite number at Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, in saying that the devices should be outlawed given the current economic climate and the high costs involved in developing the systems.
“I think it is a terrible mistake,” the Italian said, according to autosport.com. “In the end Renault, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari supply engines to other teams, and we are not making any money – it is costing us but we are doing it for the good of F1.
“We have the big reduction in the costs of engines, but in another way we have opened the door on something else. We don’t know how much it is going to cost us in the end with development, and we don’t know if it is dangerous or not – it looks like it is not 100 percent in control.
“And does it bring any good to us? What it brings to us is only cost, that is sure.”
Briatore also hit out at BMW Sauber who were the only team not to call for the delay of KERS last year, a move which effectively forced the rest of the teams to continue developing the technology.
“We have this situation because one team only was determined to take this programme,” explained Briatore.
“We know already for 2010 there is an option for a standard KERS – so whatever money we spend this year is for one year only. In this kind of environment it is completely unnecessary what we are doing. Plus, if you ask about performance – nobody knows. If you ask me, better with KERS or better without KERS? That is a big question mark.”
“But for sure BMW wanted to go to the end, so we had to follow that. It is difficult for us to have one competitor developing a programme and we are not part of it. We are talking about performance, but in this moment to support such a programme brings no good to anyone. What we know is we spend a lot of money for nothing. That is for sure.”