The Dual-axis-steering system or DAS had the paddock abuzz during winter testing. The push me-pull you type of system that changed the toe angle of the front wheels was an innovative concept that created accusations over its compliance with the regulations.
To those ends, Mercedes seemed to then play down the DAS system and hinted they may not use it while competitors ramped up their assertions that it flouted the regulations and that they may challenge it at the first race.
That’s par for the course in Formula 1 so nothing new to see here but what is new is that Mercedes technical boss, James Allison, says it was a difficult piece of kit to get approved. The system, as Adam Cooper points out here, was initially designed to be deployed in 2019 but the activation mechanism wasn’t approved by the FIA.
“It was really quite difficult indeed,” he said in a Mercedes video on DAS.
“And in fact we first wanted to introduce this in 2019.
“We took our ideas to the FIA, showed them, explained why we thought it was legal. And they begrudgingly agreed that dual-axis steering was actually legal.
“But they didn’t much like the way we’d done it, because the second axis we were getting from a lever on the wheel, rather than that whole wheel movement.
“And so they said, ‘No, you’re going to have to move the whole wheel in and out.’
“And I think when they said that they were hoping that would be too difficult, and we would go away and cause them no more problems!”
Here’s the kicker, regardless of if the FIA has approved the current design, competitions aren’t convinced and the FIA’s banning of the system for next year is a bit of an indicator that it rides the line between clever and illegal. The article goes on about how Allison is glad they spent the time designing anyway so go check it out.
Seems like an expensive experiment but I am sure they gained a lot of understanding from the process. Notice also that unlike DRS, where the FIA banned it in its current initial configuration only to adopt it and mandate it for all teams, DAS isn’t seeing that level of endorsement form the FIA…thankfully.
Hat Tip: Autosport