Three of the teams on the 2011 grid look unlikely to start the 2011 championship season with the Kinestic Energy Recovery System (KERS), the power boost option available to teams through the re-use of stored braking energy which is making a return to the sport this season.
The reintroduction of KERS has also seen the minimum car weight increased, as well as new rules governing where extra ballast can be distributed.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport claims – perhaps unsurprisingly – that it will be the three rookie outfits, Lotus, Virgin and HRT, who look likely to kick off the championship season without the power boost function.
While its exclusion allows for better weight distribution options and more optimised packaging of the cars, it will leave them vulnerable to KERS-equipped cars on-track and effectively create a two-tier performance level.
However, it is believed that Lotus’ new car, dubbed the TL11 and set to be unveiled on Monday, has been designed to accommodate a KERS system in the future.
It is also believed that the Cosworth engine – used by Williams (which has already designed its own KERS system), Lotus and HRT – has been designed to accommodate KERS, with the engine maker’s business director Mark Gallagher adding: “Our partners will be able to use KERS if they so choose.”