Red Bull's technical chief Adrian Newey believes it is crucial that his team gets its KERS working properly in 2011 if it's not to lose out to its rivals. The Kinetic Energy Recovery System is making a return to Formula 1 this season and, unlike in 2009, all teams are expected to run it.
Two years ago, Red Bull developed its own KERS but decided not to race it as its main rival Brawn GP was also not using it. Newey however, reckons this year his team cannot afford to fail to get KERS working properly, as he believes the system will be a big advantage during race starts.
"The RB5 was actually packaged to take KERS and we did run it briefly preseason," said Newey during the launch of the new car at Valencia. "We took the view at the start that there were other things we wanted to concentrate on in 2009 so we chose not to race with it through the season.
"Packaging is a challenge with KERS and the big challenge is to try and come up with a solution that doesn't compromise the aerodynamics too much. Otherwise, you drop the performance benefit that you get from putting KERS on.
"We are here to try hard to try and develop it through the preseason so that we are confident that it does give us performance. I think one of the things that came clearly in 2009 was that the start-line performance of KERS was important.
"Fortunately, the team that we were battling with, which was Brawn that year, also didn't have KERS, so neither had an advantage over the other in that sense. So, this year, with McLaren and Ferrari and Mercedes having KERS and being extremely competitive, we need to get it to work if for no other reason than simply performance off the line."
Despite last year's RB6 being the strongest car of the field, Newey is hopeful the new RB7 will benefit from the development of its predecessors to be even more competitive.
"First of all, the car is third generation of a lineage starting with RB5, so it is further development of the family," he said. "We have adapted the car to suit the regulation changes, so putting KERS back on the car, going back to single diffuser, a few other details to suit the regulations.
"It is also difficult to design the car to Pirelli tires. We obviously had a short test in Abu Dhabi post race last year but tires have developed further since then, so it is a matter of learning as we go on through the tests."