In Thursday’s running of F1 Testing at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, Mercedes debuted an innovative new system; ‘DAS’ or ‘Dual Axis Steering’. Broadcasts showing the system sparked conversation about its legality but James Allison has confirmed the team are ‘pretty confident’ that it is legal.
The system was first tested by Lewis Hamilton on the W11 and involves moving the steering wheel backwards on the straights to marginally adjust the toe angle of the front wheels. These adjustments aim to provide better set up for corners while limiting drag on the straights.
On-board footage from Hamilton’s car was broadcast leading to questions almost immediately. However in a midday press conference with Hamilton and Allison, the latter stressed the FIA was aware of the project.
“The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems, and we’re pretty confident that it matches all of these requirements.” Allison said.
“This isn’t news to the FIA, it’s something that we’ve been talking to them about for some time,”
This statement can be backed up by the fact systems like this have already been outlawed for the 2021 season in the 2021 regulations released in December 2019. Mercedes should therefore be able to keep DAS for the 2020 season but its ban for 2021 means it’s not cost effective for other teams to spend half a year developing and implementing it themselves.
This innovative system fires a warning shot to the other teams for this season, with Allison further warning “it’s only the tip of an iceberg of similar stuff that’s across the car.”