Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner thinks his team will need to get its KERS up and running in the Malaysian Grand Prix if it wants to maintain its winning start to the season.
Reliability issues with its hybrid power system in practice for the Australian Grand Prix resulted in the team electing to disengage it for the remainder of the weekend, although its absence made little difference to the strong speed of the car.
With a short run from the start of the Albert Park grid to the first corner, pole position man Sebastian Vettel was able to hold onto his lead even without a KERS boost and he proved dominant throughout the race to take his first win of the season. But with there being much longer straights at the next race in Malaysia, Horner is well aware that his team may be put on the back foot if it cannot run KERS there.
"We plan to have it on the car for Malaysia," Horner said. "The KERS effect here [in Australia] is less, as the run to the first corner is shorter. So that is our main exposure, which is why we didn't want you guys to tell the rest of the world that we didn't have it. In Malaysia, there is a relatively long run to the first turn, and we will be keen to get it on the car as soon as possible."
Horner said the team had taken KERS off the car because it did not want to risk reliability issues – and it had also done so in secret because it did not want the opposition to know it could be exposed at the start.
"We tested it, we ran the system earlier in the weekend and we decided that there was a potential, albeit small chance, of a reliability issue with it so we elected not to run it this weekend," he explained. "But obviously we didn't want to tell the world – although looking at the start the guys had, it looked like we didn't need it."
Horner said he was also amused by the speculation that had run around the paddock suggesting his team had a lightweight start-only KERS system.
"You guys [media] went off on a great little tangent, but the problem is that you have probably made Adrian [Newey] think of that one now! I can blame you lot for that then."