Williams team boss Sir Frank Williams believes reintroducing KERS to Formula 1 is essential for the sport's environmental image, and that the return of the energy-regenerating device would protect F1 from criticism from environmental groups and the press.
KERS remains in the regulations following its single season of use last year, but the teams agreed not to run it in 2010 on cost grounds. Its return was debated during meetings at last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, and Williams said he was strongly in favor.
"I've always believed that Formula 1 needs a totem, to avoid – which we have done so far – the attention of uncooperative members of the press who don't follow Formula 1 very actively," he said. "I use the word 'totem,' but to explain what I mean in very general terms, it's quite the wrong word because KERS is a very meaningful thing for emission control and it does save power.
"It's expensive, it's difficult technically and it's a big swallow, but sooner or later Formula 1's going to get some aggro from one of these bodies that causes aggro."
Last year only McLaren and Ferrari used KERS for the majority of the season, with BMW and Renault abandoning their systems and the other teams opting to run without the device – although most had evaluated KERS in testing. Brawn and Red Bull fought for the championship without needing KERS, but Williams believes the technology has already improved enough that if it returned any teams not running the system would be uncompetitive.
"If three teams had KERS and the other seven didn't, the chances of winning races if you haven't got KERS – now that the systems are becoming better and better – [not having it] is a major handicap," he said. "I believe it should be compulsory or not [allowed] at all."
Williams was the only team to try out a flywheel-based KERS alongside the battery versions favored by the rest of the teams, but Williams added that the refueling ban now made flywheel KERS impractical.
"We can't use our own KERS because that's a flywheel, which takes up more room, and the only place to put it is behind the driver," he explained. "If the fuel tank is three times the size it was two years ago, and you want to put KERS in it, you'll have your car longer than a London bus...so, we'll use it elsewhere."