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Paddock speculates on Red Bull's KERS 'secret'

NEWS STORY
26/03/2011

The Melbourne paddock is abuzz after Sebastian Vettel revealed that his sensational pole-winning time was set without the aid of KERS, leading to speculation that the Austrian team has developed its own unique system which is only used at the start of races.

TV viewers were already aware that Vettel had not used KERS during his pole-winning lap(s) courtesy of the on-screen graphics. However, when asked at the post race press conference he confirmed that he had not used the device during the session.

Stunned by the revelation, Lewis Hamilton, who pulled out all the stops to qualify second, albeit three-quarters of a second down on the German, said: "If he didn't use KERS, that is another half-a-second... so that is 1.3 seconds, which is not normal."

When asked if he had used the device, Vettel's teammate Mark Webber also admitted that he didn't need it. When asked why he replied: "We didn't run it today for reasons we will keep in the team."

This has now prompted speculation that the Austrian team is using a special KERS system that is only used at the very start of the race. Such a system would be smaller and lighter than the devices used by its rivals and would give Vettel and Webber the added power they require when they need it most, at the very start of the race.

Team boss Christian Horner was giving little away when asked about the speculation: "All I will tell you is our system is not the same as others' but it's at its most beneficial at the start," he told a media scrum.

"Strategically we elected to not use KERS in qualifying it was a team decision," he added. "But I'm not going to tell you what you are fishing for."

Asked if his team would be using KERS during the race he smiled and said: "You will have to wait and see and watch the television. I am not going to spoil the excitement."

It is unclear whether the team has gone down this route because of reliability issues, or whether strategic decisions such as tyre wear or gear ratios played a part. However, its rivals are already on the case.

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