Marussia (previously known as Virgin) have announced that their 2012 car will not make use of KERS. In doing so, they have effectively relegated themselves to the back of the grid.
KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) works by harvesting energy under braking, and then using the stored energy to boost engine power for a few seconds a lap. The system is thought to be worth around three tenths of a second per lap.
All of the other teams will be running KERS this season, which immediately puts Marussia at a disadvantage. Formula 1 is largely a technical battle. The best car generally wins. By not using KERS, Marussia are putting themselves behind everyone else by three tenths per lap. Those three tenths have to be made up somewhere else. Considering that all of the other teams will be working to improve all aspects of their cars all the time, the chances of Marussia making up that difference are virtually nil.
So it seems that Marussia will spend another season as also-rans. Hopefully they can prove otherwise, and make good progress aerodynamically, but they are starting on the back foot.
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