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The Mercury Cars Guide : February 28th 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009 Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au CARSguide —19 Ambrose won’t gamble in Vegas with JAMES BRESNEHAN gas this weekend when the Nascar Sprint Series hits Nevada. The North Carolina-based Tas- manian driver wants to post three solid performances in the opening three races of the 2009 series before rolling the dice for a better result. Ambrose finished 17th in the opening round of the 2009 cham- pionship at Daytona — where he also became the first Australian to compete in the Daytona 500. In round two at the Auto Club Speedway, California, last week- end, Ambrose was pleased with 22nd. M ‘‘This is a pretty good start to the year for us,’’ Ambrose said. ‘‘We just have to be a little conservative to start the season to make sure we lock ourselves into some good points. ‘‘It takes all the pressure off us by not having to qualify into these races. ‘‘It’s exciting for us to have two solid finishes.’’ ARCOS Ambrose re- vealed this week that he was not prepared to gamble in Las Ve- It will be a conservative Am- RACE-READY: Tasmanian Marcos Ambrose will race Nascars at Las Vegas this weekend. ‘‘I just wanted to mix it up a bit brose at Las Vegas Motor Speed- way in round three of 36. ‘‘We’ve probably got just one more week of being cautious,’’ Ambrose said. ‘‘If we can have three solid results in the first five races that should guarantee us a pretty solid position in the championship. ‘‘If you can finish 20th every week then you’re going to finish between 15th and 12th in the championship. ‘‘If we can finish around 20th, we’ll consider that a great debut.’’ and be in the middle of the pack to start this season and we’ve done that in these first two events. ‘‘Well just keep doing the same things for at least one or two more events beforeweturn the heat up.’’ Ambrose has raced at Las Vegas three times before — two in the Nationwide series and also in his debut season in the Nascar Truck series. His best qualifying result is sixth and best race finish is sev- enth. ‘‘Las Vegas is one of the faster Williams team shuns extra power option TheWilliams F1teamwill not useapotentially race- winning new technology at the Australian Grand Prix. ByPaulGover F ormula 1 racing team Williams has decided against starting the 2009 season with the promising, but unproven, Ki- netic Energy Recovery Sys- tem which is now allowed under the latest Formula One regulations. It can give a potential bene- fit of up to 80 horsepower in short bursts but the KERS systems are heavy and, so far, not proven. Williams is not the only team with doubts about KERS as even BMW-Sauber, which has one of the most advanced of the new systems, has yet to decide if it will use itsKERSat Albert Park. McLaren-Mercedes is al- most certain to use the new system, which would likely force Ferrari to also fire up with thenewsystem to ensure a level-pegging start to the ’09 championship battle. ‘‘The situation here is that we are working to bring the technology to the car but we are not going to race it in Melbourne,’’ a Williams spokesman said yesterday. ‘‘We will introduceKERSas and when we have a system that can improve perfor- mance.’’ BMW-Sauber has done a lot of work on its system this week in Bahrain but one of its drivers, Nick Heidfeld, said yesterday that it was not confirmed for the AGP. ‘‘I’m very interested myself to find out how many teams use it. ‘‘We have not decided,’’ Heidfeld said. So far, Mercedes is the only team to say they use it.' Heidfeld said KERS could provide a winning edge at some tracks but would be a potential handicap because of its weight at others. ‘‘Some circuits it suits more than others. Here in Bahrain it seems to suit the circuit. ‘‘Melbourne will be a circuit in the middle. It’s not ideal but it’s not as bad as, say, Mona- co.’’ Heidfeld also said it is rela- tively easy to adapt to driving with KERS, which gives a turbocharger-style surge of extra power for up to six seconds. It is triggered bya buttonon the steering wheel. ‘‘It’s not hard to get used to, but it’s very interesting, like normally with new things coming up’’ he said. ‘‘There are a lot of things to learn and explore. It’s good fun to find out how it is. ‘‘We are still developing and it’s not perfect, but we are hoping it will be perfect and give us an advantage over a non-KERS car.’’ BMW-Sauber uses an elec- trical KERS system for its energy storage while Williams is using a compact flywheel which spins at very high speeds. Other teams are believed to be using some form of hydrau- lic system. There have been problems, with aBMWmechanic receiv- ing an electric shock during early trials last year. He was taken to hospital but not badly injured. TheKERSpackage is part of a raft of rule changes for the 2009 season which includes new wings, slick racing tyres and fewer aerodynamic body parts. The objective is to allow closer racing and more pass- ing. A William spokesman said the company belived it has more chance of improving its results this year with im- provements outside KERS. ‘‘The rationale for this is that the greatest performance WAIT AND SEE: Williams Formula One driver Nico Rosberg at the Algarve circuit, Portugal. opportunities are currently in the weight distribution, bal- ance and optimising set-up for the slick tyre. ‘‘This is where we focus initially,’’ the spokesman said. ‘‘As we are developing our own motor and our own en- ergy storage system, it will take longer and be higher risk, but our approach offers a higher potential reward. ‘‘It alsomeans that thework we are doing for our Formula One program is accelerating the introduction of this tech- nology for other applications. ‘‘In the medium term, this may prove to be the biggest contribution of KERS as the FIA and Williams hoped from the outset of the initiative. ‘‘Naturally, the date for the introduction of our system to the car will be kept under review.’’ What is KERS? AKINETIC Energy Recovery System is designed to harness the energy normally lost as heatwhena FormulaOne car brakes from high speed. Similar systems are al- ready in use in some hybrid road cars, includ- ing the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic, to re-charge their on-board electric batteries. In F1 cars, the energy is recovered and stored, to be released in short bursts as extra horse- power for acceleration. KERS is part of a pack- age of technical changes for the 2009 season to one-and-a-half mile ovals we go to and it’s a great facility,’’ he said. ‘‘We just don’t know how our 1.5-mile package will perform at Las Vegas. ‘‘In California we had a 2-mile speedway that is reasonably flat, so you do need something different underneath you for the 1.5-mile tracks, which dominate our sched- ule. ‘‘Hopefully we will have a good package this week. ‘‘We learned a lot in California, so hopefully we can put that to good use in Las Vegas.’’ While 2009 is Ambrose’s first full season in theNASCARSprint Cup Series, he is not eligible for the Rookie of the Year award. NASCAR rules state that to be eligible a driver must not have had more than seven starts. Ambrose made 11 Sprint Cup starts last season. The Las Vegas race will be telecast live on FOX Sports 1 at 7.30am on Monday. improve racing and boost the amount of overtaking. There are a variety of KERS systems in the grand prix world and, although teams are very secretive about their de- sign and operation, they use either electrical, fly- wheel or hydraulic sys- tems to store the energy. It is released when the driver hitsabuttononthe steering wheel. KERS delivers an esti- mated extra 80 horse- power for up to six sec- onds, but the penalty is extra weight which could add as much as 50 kilo- grams to a car.
February 21st 2009
March 7th 2009