KERS could return in 2011 as Renault and Ferrari offer cheaper, more powerful alternative

The power-boost device KERS could be set to make a return to Formula One next season, following positive talks at a Formula One Teams’ Association meeting in London on Wednesday.

Although the Kinetic Engine Recovery System remains in the sports regulations, teams decided not to use the device on cost grounds. It has been estimated that Ferrari and McLaren – leaders in developing the device in 2009 – spent around 10-20 million euros alone.

However, following today’s meeting, Williams technical director Sam Michael has revealed that Renault and Ferrari have both offered to supply teams with a cheaper and more powerful version of the system.

“Basically Ferrari and Renault put forward proposals that they could do KERS for less than a million euros ($1.33 million),” Michaels is quoted as saying by Reuters.

“Those have been accepted but what Ferrari and Renault are both saying is that unless we increase the energy level from the current 400 kilojoules up to 600 or 800, to make KERS more beneficial, they are not prepared at this stage to commit that they will actually do KERS.

“Renault will supply anyone who asks for it on the grid and Ferrari will supply any of their customers, anyone who is running a Ferrari engine.”

It would appear that any decision would not come before the next round of the championship in Spain, and that Michael’s Williams team would use its own system, after increasing its share in the newly-named company, Williams Hybrid Power.

“I think that by Barcelona (next week’s Spanish Grand Prix), the FOTA executive is due to try and make a decision on KERS for 2011. It’s all pretty split at the moment on that.” he said.

FOTA’s meeting also concentrated on the issue of next year’s tyre supplier, with Bridgestone committed to pulling out of the sport at the end of the current season.

Michael admitted that talks were going with both Michelin and Cooper Avon, with the latter the more cheaper option.

“The conversations really, at this point, are between Michelin and Avon,” said Michael.

“Avon’s a lot cheaper (than Michelin) but it’s a less proven product although they’ve done plenty of highly competitive tyres.

“They are a bigger unknown than Michelin because Michelin did it (in F1) very recently. But there is a significant difference in cost and you are probably talking over three times the difference in cost to the teams. So that’s what’s being debated at the moment.”