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GP Week : Issue 21
> F1NEWS> the case of a car being involved in an accident, and the KERS unit not being correctly earthed. At the time, an FIA spokesperson refuted such fears by stating that “the FIA would not consider any developments for the sport that did not comply with the very strictest safety standards.” In light of the latest developments, GPWeek contacted the FIA in order to offer the body an opportunity to clarify or amend its earlier comments on the safety of KERS. At the time of going to press, however, no clarification has been received. With just six months until the 2009 season begins, there is an ever growing feeling that KERS units, which are yet to be made compulsory, are now unlikely to be run at the season opening Australian Grand Prix. Electrocution sparks pit-lane fears LAST week’s testing electrocution incident is proof evident that fears over electric shocks from KERS units were and are very right to exist. Fears over electrocution had previously been presumed to only exist in the event of an unearthed car being involved in a race- ending accident, with rumours suggesting that marshals would have to receive special KERS safety training, and would be kitted out with special gloves and equipment. Cars entering the pits were thought not to be at risk, as it is usual for them to run over earthing strips on the ground. Events in Jerez however have shown that pit lane electrocution is a very real possibility. This has, of course, sparked fears of what might happen in the event of a KERS unit’s unused energy earthing itself at a refuelling stop. While all F1 cars currently run over earthing strips when making pitstops to avoid any potential transferral of static or electrical energy to the fuel hose or igniting spilt fuel, KERS units remain very much an unknown quantity both in terms of their stability and application. The perceived greatest danger lies in the amount of energy being stored within what are increasingly showing themselves to be units of questionable stability. Threats of pit fires caused by unearthed KERS energy being emitted to refuelling rigs will leave many in the sport fearful, and will likely be a topic of serious debate at the next Technical Working Group meeting.