The veil of secrecy which has surrounded Formula One’s most successful KERS system was partially lifted recently when Zytek Automotive were unveiled as motor and power electronics supplier for the Formula One KERS system as fitted to the 2.4 litre Mercedes-Benz FO 108W V8 engine.
The KERS system was developed and brought up to racing standard in 24 months by Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in collaboration with Daimler / Mercedes-Benz Research & Development. Zytek were one of a number of key technical partners in this development.
On 26th July 2009, Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix which made the MP24-4 the first ever KERS-equipped Grand Prix winner, which is quite an accolade for MB HPE and Zytek.
Norbert Haug, Mercedes’ Motorsport Manager, recently revealed details of the team’s KERS device:
“The systems is a pure electric one in which the motor / generator is mounted in front of the engine and driven directly from the front of the crankshaft. The power control unit is mounted low down in the left hand sidepod and the battery pack is mounted low down in the right hand sidepod.
The entire system weighs 25.3 kg and can be fully charged in under half a second during braking. Haug stated;
“From what we hear, this is the lightest system available, and our pace depends on it. The McLaren cars have it integrated and we would certainly be slower without KERS".
When they were asked about the safety of the system, Norbert Haug confirmed that Mercedes has not yet experienced any KERS related problem like Ferrari by stating that their batteries have not exploded before.
"The team has done its very best in terms of safety, but obviously we cannot build a harness around the batteries as that would be too heavy. Even though our carbon fibre is extremely conductive, we have done the maximum to isolate the battery pack."
Haug concluded by saying that the Red Bull RB05 is fast because of its great aerodynamics and because they have their ballast to play with: "All non-KERS teams have 30-40 kg more ballast to play with, but the way I know Adrian [Newey], Red Bull have far more than 30 kg to spare."
Written by Top Sharp.