The debate as to how useful KERS would be in Monaco raged as the engineers worked through the results from the simulators. In the end Ferrari and McLaren both decided to use KERS and Renault and BMW decided against its use.
McLaren is thought to have the best KERS set up linked with its Mercedes engine, and is the only team to have used it on both their cars in every race this year. Ferrari have been struggling to get it to work properly and have had problems with the battery shorting out, but seem to be on top of the situation now.
We saw the McLaren and Ferrari drivers regularly using the extra boost through the high speed tunnel, but with practically no overtaking in Monaco we didn’t see the KERS coming to help in any overtaking manoeuvres.
It looked as if there was minimal advantage to using KERS in the slow twisty Monaco circuit and so Renault and BMW decided to forgo the KERS boost in favour of a more nimble car so as to make the most of the optimal weight distribution and mechanical grip.
A big disadvantage with KERS is the way that it is recharged on braking by the rear axle. As the KERS is fully charged there is a change in the torsional moment of the rear axle which could momentarily upset the balance of the braking.
We saw both Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton have what looked like almost inexplicable rear end break aways. Was this the price they paid for using KERS at the twisty Monaco circuit?
Massa had the rear break away and rubbed the nose off on the Armco barrier, right at the beginning of the first qualifying session. Luckily he was able to limp his Ferrari back to the pits and resumed qualifying to eventually end up 5th on the grid. A hard drive in the race produced a respectable 4th.
Hamilton was not so lucky. His practice session ended when his rear got away from him in the first qualifying session and thumped into the tyre barrier, leaving his car broken and unable to continue qualifying. He had a miserable race, damaging his nose on a Williams early on. Once that was replaced at his second pit stop his lap times improved considerably, but by then he had been lapped and the race was effectively over for him. He was hoping for a podium but ended up finishing 12th.