The use of hybrid drive systems, or Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) as they're known in Formula 1, has a relatively short history in racing. In F1, the history is about to become present once again, with KERS back on the grid for 2011. But it may not be all it's cracked up to be, if HRT chief engineer Tony Cuquerella is any indication.
Calling KERS "inefficient," and little more than a marketing exercise in greenwashing (both the sport and the manufacturers involved), Cuquerella impugned the device and the motives for its use in a lecture given at the Polytechnic University of Valenica, Spain last week. KERS, he says, is only there to sell more cars and the idea that F1 has "tightened its belt" on energy use.
HRT isn't expected to use a KERS system next year, and without a major car manufacturer as a backer and bigger fish to fry than figuring out KERS, it's no surprise. Likewise, Virgin isn't expected to use the KERS system either. The rest of the teams are either planning to use it or as yet undecided.
What role the KERS systems will play next year, along with the introduction of new aero limitations, Pirelli replacing Bridgestone, and possible tweaks to the scoring system, we can't predict.