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What's the point of KERS?

Discussion in 'F1' started by tifosi12, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
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    I like KERS as an engineering exercise and as an idea in general. I also like it to give F1 a bit of a green touch, if for no other reason than to have an alibi. I also like the fact that Ferrari is already planning on incorporating it into production cars hence strengthening that F1-to-the-road link.

    That said, I think the FIA did a horrible job introducing and stiffling KERS:

    - First the timing couldn't have been worse given the economy and what KERS costs.
    - Then they reduce the play time to 6 seconds per lap. That's just ridiculous. Maybe some engineer on here can enlighten me what would be realistically achievable. How many seconds could there be and how much hp gain could there be? Could it be more than 80 hp?

    I think the FIA should have either not started the KERS movement or let it go free. As it is right now, it is neither here nor there and doesn't really help the teams who adopted it.

    Your comments?
     
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  3. Anthony_Ferrari

    Anthony_Ferrari Formula 3

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    Jenson said that it could be more significant in Malaysia where there are longer straights. In Australia the drivers seemed to use it all round the lap for about a second at a time to help acceleration out of the corners, rather than in a big burst to pass or defend. I think it's pretty cool.
    I read in one of the press conferences that none of the drivers seem to think the movable front wing will ever be used. Maybe that is the more irrelevent innovation?
     
  4. DGS

    DGS Four Time F1 World Champ

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    #3 DGS, Mar 30, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
    A "boost button" is a videogame feature.

    There's no reason to design an internal combustion engine to operate below peak efficiency: maximize horsepower, minimize emissions. Unless to prevent the engine from eating itself --- and they had that control in the engine maps, before they went to a spec ECU.

    Brake energy recovery? Sure: sounds good on paper, at first.
    Heck; the space shuttle should be storing re-entry heat and using it to provide thrust for a powered landing.
    On paper.
    So why don't they?
    Weight.
    The hardware weighs more than the benefit.

    KERS: haz-mat materials batteries carrying a dangerous 80KW electrical charge in 45Kg of weight to add a rule-restricted "boost" to a rev limited engine?
    Just how drunk were they when they thought that one up?


    Too many engineering decisions by people who aren't engineers.


    "Simplificate, and add lightness"
    (That's why my '79 Alfa Spider did about as well in highway gas mileage as a Prius does today.)
     
  5. modena2904

    modena2904 Formula Junior
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    It was regulated specifically so that the performance advantage and weight/balance disadvantage cancel each other out. I think that was the FIA's way of trying to keep a somewhat level playing field on the first year out.

    In developing the regulations, I speculate that the final "tuning" of the KERS advantage/disadvantage balance was done by setting the limit on usage time per lap. How else would they have come up with 6.6 seconds of usage? Based on looking at the in-car graphic, it would seem that the systems would be technically capable of more than 6.6 seconds by using multiple charge/discharge cycles per lap.

    (Of course, this is total speculation on my part -- no facts here!!)

    - Eric
     
  6. Drive550PFB

    Drive550PFB Two Time F1 World Champ
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    What KERS can do, we can do better with other technology. This is a chip given to the environmental crowd.

    There is so much hypocrisy on the issue. Heck, even PETA has been found to have killed thousands of animals, while providing only 7 adoptions.

    http://www.consumerfreedom.com/pressRelease_detail.cfm/release/258

    The winners didn't have KERS.
     
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  8. xsrdx

    xsrdx Karting

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    +1. No reason for this technology other than to throw a bone to anti -C02 environmental activists, no different than the ALMS "green racing" alternative fuels initiative.

    No engineer would choose to increase power this way on purpose.
     
  9. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    I suspect that getting the lower rear diffuser right will now probably be more the priority of every team (other than Brawn) rather than diddling around with the KERS.
     
  10. AlexO91

    AlexO91 F1 Rookie

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    I'am a Manufacture Engineer in practice so i've not got a great deal of experience, but the way i see it is they could screw more than 80hp out of KERS. BUT the KERS system is underneath the fuel tank so to get more than 80hp out of it would mean it would take up more space, which means the fuel tank will have to be smaller so the team might have to make a series of changes such as: They could do exactly that and go with the smaller fuel tank and try and develop other ways to get the mileage back. Or they could go with a slightly longer Chassis, enabling them with more room to play with an therefore they can move stuff around and maybe even make the Battery big with bigger voltage for a bigger boost when the driver hits the KERS button. Also to possibly make the weight distribution better but it could also mess an otherwise very good weight distribution up.
     
  11. Javelin276

    Javelin276 Formula Junior

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    Yes, this year the use is restricted to 6.6 seconds so the cars without it are equal. But, I think the intent is to increase it's use next year and eventually let the drivers use it without any time restrictions.
     
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  13. kraftwerk

    kraftwerk Two Time F1 World Champ

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    It's hard to comment because I think you covered it there ^ I agree with all your point's.

    My main concern is that on a whim, regardless of cost, Max and co switch and mess with rules like it's going out of fashion, The diffuser issue, whatever is decided about that, one way or another, it's going to cost some teams big time to get it right.

    KERS on the face of it appears not to be a big advantage to the teams running it at present, however LH may have had some success with it in his charge up the field, once a team has a clear advantage with it they will all be on it, like the diffuser, but by then it will be a standard spec unit no doubt.
     
  14. Remy Zero

    Remy Zero Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Fernando Alonso was unimpressed with the performance of his KERS system in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

    The Spaniard's Renault was one of just seven cars fitted with the controversial new energy re-use technology in Melbourne.

    "It was not very useful," he told Spain's AS sports newspaper. "In terms of lap time we knew it doesn't give us an advantage, but I used it when I was right behind Glock - without a KERS - and the truth is that it was no help at all."

    "At this circuit there was no benefit," Alonso added. "But let's see what happens at tracks with very long straights, like Bahrain, or Monza.
    "

    However, Toyota's Timo Glock reported during the race that he was unable to pass Alonso's Renault because the Spaniard kept using his KERS system to reopen the gap between them.

    "It was difficult to overtake," said Glock, whose car was not KERS-equipped in Australia.
     
  15. kraftwerk

    kraftwerk Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Aha so when they all got it maybe it will be a battle of wits when to use it, defending or overtaking, if it put's a bit into the drivers hands I'am all for it.
     
  16. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    OK, two questions:

    First, I thought you were not supposed to use KERS at the start. And yet - it sure looked like some of them did! (Note that Kimi said "it was a big advantage at the start" or words to that effect in a post race interview).

    Second, What were they thinking if they actually did let some cars (but not all) have an all or nothing (not throttleable) 80 hp extra off the line?

    That start looked pretty shaky to me - it was nearly as big a pile-up as some of the now-forgotten Indy 500 starting wipeouts of old.
     
  17. kraftwerk

    kraftwerk Two Time F1 World Champ

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    I can only add IIRC you can use KERS at the start.
     
  18. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

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    +1 However, Steve (Kraftwerk) posted the relevant sections from the regs a while back - I can't remember the details, but they did say that the KERS energy storage device could be removed (and charged / discharged) after qualifying - ie, these parts are "outside" of the parc-ferme regulations. I certainly read it that you could charge the sucker to the brim prior to the start..... [Hopefully Steve can find the same doc's ;)]

    I hear what you're getting at. But, without TC these things will spin their wheels at will - From a standing start you can't put all that power down, so the extra 80hp isn't as much of a deal as it may first appear - IMHO.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  19. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    Unless, of course somebody on the front row just about stalls their engine and you on the second or third row have an effective 80hp starter motor to help you off the line...

    But I saw and know NOTHING -
     
  20. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Again, I hear you.

    But, OTOH, on many (50%?) of the starts *someone* (or something) screws up and the guy gets eaten up by the pack - Been happening forever, will continue happening forever IMHO. I don't think the extra HP is "significant" at this point - I suspect that will change as they develop the system though.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  21. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    Maybe in 3rd gear when the chance of wheel spin is greatly reduced the 80 hp may help.
     
  22. LightGuy

    LightGuy Three Time F1 World Champ
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    #19 LightGuy, Mar 30, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
    I dont get all the moaning about KERS.

    1; The system was planned for prior to the world economic climate.

    2; Its an attempt to have F1 relative in today's energy conscious world. If it had been in existence before the Insight/Prius, which are low performance economy cars, the perception here would be drastically different. Same system, different perception.
    Lets have the best and brightest automotive engineers on the planet work in a competitive environment to find the best recoverable energy storage/usage solutions.

    3; Mad Max created it. If it had been Luca the tears of joy would still be forthcoming.

    4; 80 "free" HP and same weight ? Let me do the math.... Yes.... I have an answer; NO BRAINER. (The real question is how much Torque).

    5; Lets give it some time. If the same Luddites were around at the dawn of the Automotive age when horse drawn coaches were faster and more reliable than automobiles, Ferrari would be a buggy manufacturer. How bout them prancing Horses ?

    My biggest concern is a electrical discharge or mechanical flywheel failure causing a driver or crew-member death. That would be the end of KERS.

    Until then lets look at it as a very positive feature that our premier auto racing series is once again on the leading edge.
     
  23. frefan

    frefan F1 Veteran

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    just bring back turbocharged v12s and be done with it
     
  24. James_Woods

    James_Woods F1 World Champ

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    Now some wise guy will bring up the spectre of using just that configuration to start and thinking up a way to fake the electric motor into a form of pro-active traction control?

    Say it aint so, Joe...
     
  25. jmlinmn

    jmlinmn Formula Junior

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    The thing that scares me about KERS is that there's a non-zero chance someone gets a very good (and hopefully non-lethal) zap out of it.
     
  26. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    Ahhhh 200 amps, that's nothin'!
     
  27. jmlinmn

    jmlinmn Formula Junior

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    fully charged that'll kill you a few times over.
     
  28. Ney

    Ney F1 Veteran
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    Can KERS be utlized as an on board starting system, getting a car back in the running after a spin and stall? I know with all of the anti-stall ecu programming that stalls are not as common as they used to be, but it would be interesting if you could use KERS to get a car going that would otherwise be out of a race. Its weight penalty may prove worthwhile for this and will certainly be worthwhile if the amount of time it can be used per lap is lengthened. It is currently set so that it is neither an advantage or disdvantage for this year, as weight cancels out performance gain.
     

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