MERCEDES/MCLAREN F1 -
KERS CASE STUDY
RACE WINNER AND 100% RELIABILITY UNDER RACE CONDITIONS
Zytek was nominated by Mercedes/McLaren to develop their hybrid system for the 2009 F1 season, and was the only KERS system to enjoy two race wins.
Hybrid Technology in F1
In 2007 the FIA were seeking to make Formula 1 more relevant to the emerging hybrid technology that was starting to become mainstream on road cars.
The first step was to introduce a hybrid system to existing powertrains, but with little in the way of restrictions other than total power and energy storage, thus giving the teams the opportunity to innovate with any system they chose.
As these systems were new to top level motorsport, the Formula 1 teams sought external assistance from specialist engineering companies such as Zytek with the experience in both motorsport and electrification, and specifically KERS applications.
Zytek, with its history of prototype racing in Europe and North America allied with the engine and engine control business, were perfectly suited to act as an engineering partner. Mercede/Mcaren engaged with Zytek to develop the hybrid system for the 2009 F1 season.
With very aggressive targets for mass, efficiency, thermal operating conditions and levels of integration, the project required close co-operation between the engineering teams at Zytek and Mercedes.
Early in the development phase, to minimise total additional mass for the hybrid system the decision was taken not to water cool any component due to the additional mass of coolers, pumps and pipework.
2009 Debut with Lewis Hamilton & Heikki Kovalainen
The resulting KERS system made its entry into competitive racing at the first race in 2009 at Melbourne with Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen.
2009 Race Wins
Over the course of the 2009 season, the system exhibited 100% reliability under race conditions and in race 10 in Hungary, achieved its first win. This followed with a second win in Singapore,
This was the first KERS system to win a race, it was also the only one to win 2 races in 2009.
2011 KERS Adopted By All Teams
At the end of the season, KERS systems were banned for 2010 to encourage all teams to adopt the technology for the 2011 season. With the F1 teams bringing this technology in-house, energy recovery systems have remained on Formula 1 cars ever since, playing their part in enhancing engine thermal efficiency to record levels.