In part one I wrote about Formula 1’s DRS, the Drag Reduction System, and how teams and drivers utilize this technology to gain an advantage over the competition. In part two, I’ll write about another technological tool that F1 teams have at their disposal when competing: KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System).
KERS is a system to recover the kinetic energy that is present in waste heat created by the car’s braking process. It stores that energy and converts it into power that can be called upon by the driver to boost acceleration. The system, regulated by F1 rules, captures approximately 80 bhp (brake horsepower) that can be used by the driver via a boost button on the steering wheel for approximately 6.5 to 6.7 seconds per lap at specific locations. The braking action is always recharging the system during the lap, but it can never release more than the allotted 80 bhp. However, once the allotted energy is used up, the car has to pass the start/finish line again before the system is re-armed and available to the driver. It is optional equipment on the cars. The key points of the system are that it can be used both offensively and defensively. Offensively, it can be used to try and overtake a car ahead and defensively, it can be used to try and prevent the car behind from overtaking. KERS is a valuable tool and the tactics involved can give the driver a distinct advantage during the race. Every team wants to win and utilizing all of the tools at their disposal is paramount to winning the race.
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Image Credit: Sahara Force India Formula One Team