Williams flywheel KERS wins award, but isn’t good enough for team to use

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FlywheelsHere’s the deal.

Williams has announced it will use the same type of KERS system — a battery-powered one — as the rest of the Formula 1 grid next year.

But at the same time, the team’s much-loved flywheel technology just won the Powertrain Innovation of the Year award at the Professional Motorsport World Expo.

So… huh? Why trumpet your innovation while tossing it in the garbage? Anyone?

Here’s a bit more background. First, the award:

WHP’s award made it a clean sweep for the companies involved in the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid programme this year, with the car itself winning the award for Car of the Year and the project’s lead engineer, Dr Daniel Armbruster, winning the citation for Design Engineer of the Year.
Williams Hybrid Power’s magnetically-loaded composite flywheel technology helped the GT3 R Hybrid programme achieve noteworthy competition results in 2010, including a number of endurance race successes in Europe, Asia and the US.

OK… so I think I can see where this is headed. It works best in a sports car, perhaps?

Well… at least sort of:

The team has made the switch from the flywheel unit it has been developing for the past two years because of the packaging opportunities battery power offers in the wake of the refuelling ban at the end of last season.
The team had previously committed to running KERS in 2011 back in September, but technical director Sam Michael said at the time that both battery and flywheel derivatives remained an option.
Speaking to AUTOSPORT however, Williams co-owner Patrick Head has confirmed that the team has opted for the battery version in 2011, because it is easier to package now F1 cars must carry larger fuel cells than they did two years ago.

Apparently the team is keeping its flywheel open as an option in the future. But, c’mon, the future is now!

Any of our KERS experts out there have more insight to add? All I can say is it feels like the best thing Williams has done or created in years isn’t even going to be on their car. (Insert Nico Hulkenberg joke.)


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