So much for all of that fancy talk about the return of Kers. The system, which is about as close as you can get to using a mushroom in Mario Kart in real life, lets Formula One drivers temporarily get an additional 80 horsepower out of their engine, made its return to Formula One this season. There was plenty of talk along the lines of, “This is great! It will help with overtaking and make for more exciting races.” Well well! The winning team at yesterday’s Australian Grand Prix (the first race of the season, owing to civil unrest in Bahrain) didn’t even bother using the thing. Funny.
Sebastian Vettel, from Germany and driving for Red Bull, won the race by I think 800 seconds over his nearest opponent, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, said after the race—and it was a truly dominant performance, despite Vettel’s modesty—that the team didn’t even have the Kers device installed. Horner told the BBC that he didn’t think installing the device would be worth it, given its negative effect of the RB7’s aerodynamic performance.
But have Red Bull given up completely on the Mario Kart mushroom?
That same Horner has since said that the team will have to figure out the kinks in the system if it’s to maintain its wining start to the season.
The other big addition this season, the drag reduction system (basically, the rear wing folds away, allowing more air to pass through), didn’t seem to have a big impact, either. The sport’s governing body says that the tech is merely a tool, and that it’s up to drivers to use it effectively.
Will Bernie have to make good on his thread and bring on the artificial rain to make this season not a complete Red Bull procession? Or will the likes of Hamilton, Alonso, and Petrov make this an interesting season? (No, but they’ll try.)