Does size really matter?

By Kathryn S (TNT Motorsports Archives)

As far as race car drivers are concerned it certainly does…and with the advent of KERS, all the more so.

The additional weight of the entire KERS is not the critical factor as the cars are built to be significantly under the weight limits. What it does affect is weight distribution. Ballast is used to bring the car up to weight and the ability to distribute this ballast advantageously is what is lost with the KERS system and a “heavy” driver. According to some, the race-long positive affect of weight distribution “outweighs” any advantage KERS might bring in short bursts.

Much was made last year of the fact that Robert Kubica had lost a good deal of weight from his already slender frame so as to provide better balance on his car—apparently to some good effect. But the prospect of KERS has put him and some of the other tall drivers under pressure.

Is this fair…and should new rules be made to correct or ameliorate the penalty on the “big” drivers? Once I get past the “life is inherently not fair” adage, it seems to me that an accommodation needs to be made if KERS becomes mandatory. It has been and always will be more difficult for heavier drivers to make it in motor sports. Most formulas’ weight limits include the driver in the computation. What, to me, seems wrong is to allow these drivers to reach the pinnacle of their sport then change a rule that increases the penalty for their size and puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

As of yet, KERS has not been proven to be a winner for most of the teams…it was reported that only three cars were using KERS in the last race. Should the regulations, as has been discussed, include the use of a mandatory spec KERS for 2010, weight limits need to be raised to include the additional weight of the KERS. The “big boys” will still be disadvantaged, but not double penalized.

Posted by Kathryn S on April 21, 2009 at 02:41 PM in Formula One Times Fanzine Fanzone