Blessing & KERS - The next big powertrain advance in Formula 1 revs to 64,500 rpm A consumer based hybrid flywheel should cost $1000/car in volume production but even at double, it's a bargain. [xfloat=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2008_Formula_One.jpg[/xfloat]Doug Fraser - Motor Trend - Feb. 28, 2008 Hybridizing Formula One should lead to consumer based hybrid automobiles for even lower costs. -- Ed. Back in March 2005, I admitted being no fan of organized motorsports. The context was a report from the SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference and Exhibition on a move to add energy efficiency as a racing parameter in hopes of making race cars more relevant to their roadgoing brethren and broaden the sport's appeal to guys like me. Now Formula 1 is taking the first baby step in that direction by permitting -- not requiring -- "kinetic energy recovery systems" in 2009. Naturally, every team is expected to adopt such a system. Team Toyota will likely leverage its Hybrid Synergy Drive franchise with an electric KERS using ultracapacitors. Hydraulic hybridization promises great power delivery but requires 10-plus bulky gallons of oil. I'm most intrigued by a solution recently unveiled by Flybrid Systems LLP, of Silverstone, England, which uses a small flywheel to capture and release energy. Some of you must be saying, "That's been tried before and failed." Yes, Chrysler took a stab at a flywheel-hybrid race car called the Patriot back in 1994-1995, but that series turbine/flywheel/electric setup was far more ambitious, involving a big flywheel expected to deliver power down the entire Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans. Safely containing a flywheel storing over two horsepower-hours of energy proved impossible… [rm]http://www.motortrend.com/features/editorial/112_0803_technologue[/rm] Flybrid Systems' small flywheel for Formula One based energy capture from braking and release for accelerations.