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GP Week : Issue 10
THE FIA has moved to quell fears surrounding the safety of the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), which will become part of F1’s technical regulations in 2009. The KERS systems in use next season will see as much as 80Kw of power being recovered for use in the form of a ‘boost-style’ button. As arguments regarding the implementation of the systems have erupted, fears regarding its safety have risen to the top of the agenda. The latest story to do the rounds at the Turkish Grand Prix was that race marshals at F1 events would have to undergo special training and be kitted out in new uniforms to aid their handling of stricken cars over race weekends. The fear, as expressed by a number of paddock insiders, was that the 80kW of power would remain unused and unearthed, and that marshals arriving on the scene of an incident would be at risk from electrocution! The FIA has, however, refuted these claims in absolute terms, pointing to its championing of the highest levels of safety in the sport in its defence of the new systems. An FIA spokesperson told GPWeek that there was no intention or in fact need, for marshals to received specialised KERS training or electroshock-proof uniforms. “The FIA would not consider any developments for the sport that did not comply with the very strictest safety standards,” he said. Reports in Turkey over the weekend, meanwhile, claimed that Honda had become the first F1 team to test KERS in one of its cars, albeit at a fairly basic level. FIA refutes KERS safety fears THE GP2 Series has taken steps to improve the safety of the new GP2/08 following Davide Valsecchi’s crash in qualifying In Turkey. The Italian appeared to lose brake efficiency at the end of the back straight in the final minutes of the session, and buried his car into the tyre barrier at over 160kph. His extraction from the car was slightly hampered by the crotch strap becoming stuck between the seat and the chassis, and a Technical Bulletin was issued to the teams on Friday night requesting immediate alterations to the cars. A small carbon fibre cut was added to the top of the carbon seat shell behind the driver’s head. The GP2 Series explained that “this additional feature provides clearance from the shell for the HANS device so as to restrict the ability of the device to strike the shell, and consequently improve the device’s effectiveness during an accident.” The GP2 Series car itself stood up to the impact well, however, with the monocoque doing its job. GP2 technical Director Didier Perrin is investigating the brake problem experienced by the Italian, but with little remaining of the brakes, it is proving tricky to ascertain the exact cause. GP2 steps up safety F1 NEWS >> 11