Published: Fri, February 21, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Ted Kravitz's guide to Mercedes' big F1 innovation — DAS explained

Ted Kravitz's guide to Mercedes' big F1 innovation — DAS explained

According to the Mercedes tech guru, the innovation "introduces an extra dimension for steering which we hope will be useful", but he avoided elaborating on its potential benefits.

The Mercedes system allows the driver to alter the "toe angle" of the front wheels - their angle in relation to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle - while he is driving. A time that was only 0.3 seconds off his pole position time in Barcelona last year, and quicker than teammates Lewis Hamilton's P2 time of 1:16.040 last year.

Hamilton would welcome the decision to use the new steering system throughout this season, as he aims to retain his world championship.

While the FIA is understood to have been happy with the concept's legality this year, it is unclear whether the change was a direct move in response to Mercedes, with the regulations published last October.

Article 10.5.2 of the 2021 year's technical regulations reads: "The re-alignment of the steered wheels, as defined by the position of the inboard attachment of the relevant suspensions members that remain a fixed distance from each other, must be uniquely defined by a monotonic function of the rotational position of a single steering wheel".

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Masi said: "We will see what teams can come up with within those boundaries of what the regulations are written for in 2021". Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer explained the system in a video you can watch on YouTube.

This is allowed under the 2020 rules because the relevant clause says only: "The front wheels are adjusted exclusively by the steering and under the full control of the driver". Closer analysis of onboard footage showed the angle of the front wheels - known as toe - changing with the movement of the wheel.

It was a worrying morning for Ferrari, meanwhile, with Sebastian Vettel stopping out on track with an apparent issue on his SF1000, with Ferrari confirming that in a tweet that the power unit would be sent back to Maranello and a new one fitted for the afternoon session. "But if it's faster and there's no concern, you go for the faster option".

Hamilton then pushed the wheel forward before cornering to improve the car's set-up. A bit more like a plane.

"I don't know if it works, I guess there is quite a lot of work to bring it to the track it is probably not as easy as it looks for the driver to work with it. I imagine it's not that familiar in the vehicle but you can get used to a lot of things".

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