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Monday, March 03, 2008
Formula 1 - Hybrid Power (KERS) For 2009 Season
Image:courtesy of Honda Motor Co. (world.honda.com)

FIA - 2009 Formula 1 Hybrid Power Regulations

Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, and Alexander Wurz, Formula 1 drivers for the Honda Earthdreams F1 Team, will join the other F1 drivers in switching their driving technique to KERS hybrid technology next year. For the 2009 Formula 1 season, the regulations developed by FIA (Federation International Automobile) will take effect and allow for kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS or Regenerative Braking) that store energy during braking on F1 cars, much like as is done in a Toyota Prius Hybrid or Honda Civic Hybrid.

In the 2009 season, KERS Hybrid technology allows for delivery of surge power to just the rear wheels, up to a maximum power output of 60 kW. For the 2011 season, it is expected that the FIA regulations will allow braking energy to be applied to both the front and rear axles (all four wheels) for surge power output of up to 200 kW. The FIA regulations require that the F1 driver has full control of the power delivery. The drivers will have to learn how to best apply the surge power per lap and determine the appropriate place to apply it on the different sections of the circuit. Each F1 venue will have its own characteristics to learn in order to apply the power, and the teams that have the most efficient storage of braking kinetic energy will have an advantage.

Most Formula 1 Teams for the 2009 season will probably choose to store braking energy by means of a high speed counter-rotating flywheels (rotors), simply for weight versus additional surge power benefits. The other alternative would be to use super capacitors or batteries for energy storage and electric motors coupled to the drivetrain, much like as is done in current hybrid passenger cars, but this would probably prove too heavy for the 2009 60 kW power output limit. Each F1 team is closely guarding the engineering secrets behind their 2009 KERS technology.

For the 2011 season, the storage of braking energy by batteries and the delivery of power by electric motors may become a singular requirement in FIA regulations, as this is the route that passenger car hybrid technology has gone and F1 Teams and their automotive sponsors would like to see Formula 1 be used for the advanced development of passenger car battery, electric motor and regenerative braking systems.
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