Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner confirmed after the Australian Grand Prix that the two RB7 cars had run without KERS for the whole of qualifying and the race, saying that the team dropped it after Friday practice.Red Bull's decision to run without KERS during qualifying had led to all sorts of rumours cropping up in the paddock about the reasons behind their move.
While some suggested that the team had simply removed the devices altogether, others suggested the team had developed a 'mini-KERS' system designed to just provide their cars with boost off the start line in order to save on weight.
But Horner confirmed to the BBC after the race that neither car had run with KERS in either qualifying or the race, saying that the decision had been taken on the grounds of reliability.
"We haven't had KERS on at all this weekend," Horner grinned after watching Sebastian Vettel take a comfortable win in the Albert Park race.
He added: "We didn't want to tell anybody, but looking at the start ... It didn't look like we needed it."
Horner explained that the team had seen the potentially unreliable units as a "potential risk" to their race weekend, after the team were forced to design the new 2011 KERS unit around Adrian Newey's complicated aerodynamic package.
"We were a bit nervous about telling everybody before the race [that we were dropping it]." he mused, after he had spent Saturday night dodging questions about their reasons for not running the boost in qualifying.
"We ran it on Friday and we weren't happy with the reliability, we felt it was a potential risk, so we took it off both cars and didn't race it at all this weekend."
He added: "We made a decision with the KERS. It's quite a complex system, it's an interesting technology, but Adrian [Newey] being Adrian would not compromise the car around the system so it has had to fit into his aero shape and that's presented some bigger challenges.
"But the guys have done a fantastic job in Milton Keynes and testimony to their hard work that we've turned out and been reliable and dominated the race."
Despite the lack of any KERS boost, Vettel took pole position by nearly 0.8 seconds, and went on to win the race by nearly 20 seconds from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.
And Horner praised the reigning champion's performance over the weekend, saying: "It's been a fantastic day for Sebastian and the team to start this championship, on different tyres with the regulation changes we've had.
"He was dominant yesterday and totally dominant today as well. It's a shame for Mark [Webber], but a great team result."
Webber struggled for pace all weekend and was forced to make an extra pit stop during the race after suffering from tyre degredation issues, eventually finishing 5th.
And Horner said that the team would help the Australian to understand the reasons for him being so comprehensively outpaced by his German team mate.
"It's a very unusual gap to see such a big difference between the two guys," Horner noted when asked about Webber's performance.
"We need to go through things with a fine toothcomb and understand where those differences are."
He added: "Mark's performance today - he was very hard on the tyres – that created more degradation. We need to find out if there's something perhaps in the car that is contributing to that.
"We couldn't find it yesterday, but we'll certainly have a very, very good look before Malaysia."
Webber himself admitted that he had endured a "tough race" in front of his home fans, and said that he was unsure why he had been unable to match his team mate.
"A tough race, to be honest," Webber muttered to the BBC after the race, "I was pushing as hard as I could but I wasn't getting much back so I don't know why."
He added: "It was similar to yesterday. I haven't been on the pace all weekend and obviously we will look into why."
But he stressed that he was remaining calm on his chances in 2011 despite Vettel's dominance, saying: "Let's stay cool.
"It's the first race - disappointing not to get a much better result here because it was certainly possible but in the end everyone deserved the result they got today and that's what they got."
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