BMW Sauber is hoping to introduce a lightweight version of its F1.09 for the Spanish Grand Prix in a bid to boost Robert Kubica's chances of using KERS.
The Polish driver has been unable to use the device up to now, because its added weight and the subsequent loss of ballast has a knock-on impact on his car's handling - especially when it comes to tire degradation issues.
Teammate Nick Heidfeld, who is much lighter than Kubica, has been able to race with KERS in the first two events of the season.
With BMW Sauber adamant that KERS does bring a benefit, it is understood that the Hinwil-based team has been working hard on a weight reduction program that would overcome the issues Kubica has faced.
The improvements are expected to form part of a major package of updates scheduled for the race at Barcelona in May – where Kubica could even use KERS for the first time. Although there is a minimum weight limit for the car, a lightweight chassis would allow BMW Sauber to fit ballast in a more suitable place to help with the car's handling.
BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen has drawn short of confirming the plans for a lightweight car, but he has made it clear that the team is doing all it can to get KERS onto Kubica's car.
"We are aiming to prepare the cars for KERS with him," said Kubica. "That includes development on the KERS side as well as the car side.
"The issue is weight and the lack of ballast then to properly balance the car. It is not the KERS [alone] that causes the problem and we are working on that. My view is that in the course of the season you will need KERS to be up front – not just on the grid, but also in the race."
When asked by AUTOSPORT about a weight reduction program for the Spanish GP, Theissen said: "That would help exactly. We have some developments ongoing, but...wait and see. I don't want to go into detail now."
Heavier drivers like Kubica and Mark Webber have been pushing for an amendment to the minimum weight limit in F1 for next year to stop them being penalised by KERS. One suggestion is for the drivers, their race wear and their seat to have a minimum weight.