Mercedes steering rack, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

FIA: Mercedes’ steering system ‘DAS’ appears to be legal

2020 F1 season

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The FIA believes Mercedes’ Dual Axis Steering system is legal based on the information it has received from the team.

However as cars are not subject to the same restrictions at tests as they are at races, it will not be until the next month’s Australian Grand Prix that the W11 can be checked by the scrutineers and approved.

Video of the car in action during the second day of testing on Thursday showed the steering wheel on the car can slide forwards and backwards on its axis, as well as rotate. The toe angle of the car’s front wheels was observed to change in line with this movement, indicating the two are connected.

Adjusting the toe angle in this way could allow drivers to alter the cornering behaviour of the car, or manage the temperature of the tyres on the straights.

Mercedes’ technical director James Allison refused to be drawn on the purpose of DAS during an FIA press conference today. But he said Mercedes had briefed the FIA about the design and did not expect they would have any concerns over its legality.

An FIA spokesperson told RaceFans that, based on what the team has has told them, they believe the steering device complies with the regulations, but is monitoring the situation.

The technical rules state that “with the steering wheel fixed, the position of each wheel centre and the orientation of its rotation axis must be completely and uniquely defined by a function of its principally vertical suspension travel, save only for the effects of reasonable compliance which does not intentionally provide further degrees of freedom.”

It adds that “any powered device which is capable of altering the configuration or affecting the performance of any part of any suspension system is forbidden” and that “no adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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95 comments on “FIA: Mercedes’ steering system ‘DAS’ appears to be legal”

  1. Well………. I guess it’s well done Mercedes. I just can’t believe nobody had thought of this before. It seems so obvious now.

    1. So obvious, only after years of melty-tyres dominating F1 performance.

    2. I guess…. Isn’t that what we are all doing, Guessing?

      If the Mercedes drivers really are pushing and pulling on their steering wheels then maybe its legal, but we can’t really say that’s what they are doing.

      All we know is the steering moves. Does this prove the steering moves by the effort of the driver, or that it moves with the drivers hands holding on to it, and so it ‘appears’ that the drivers is responcible.

      What if that movement was hydrolic, or motorised? What if it were alll an illusion to mask what actual happens, or what is actually responcible for the wheels adjustment. ;-)

      Just saying….

      1. They have shared the details of the system with DAS. The system is mechanical and not hydraulic since a hydraulic DAS system would be illegal as mentioned in the last paragraph of the article.

  2. Surely this will count as moving aerodynamic surfaces (the wheels & tyres) and is therefore already illegal?

    1. Aero is not its primary purpose. Not even secondary purpose.

    2. If that’s the case, I expect Mercedes to immediately file a complaint against all 10 teams (including themselves) calling for the immediate ban of steering.

    3. My opinion the system is completely legal in Qualifying, but in Races there will be discussion regarding other driver response during close battle ..because it will be difficult for opponents to distinguish Mercedes wheel movement and perhaps some brake judgment.

  3. Now arms race will ensue among top teams..

  4. If this were Ferrari, it would be a slam dunk cheating. When Mercedes do it, it is deemed an innovation

    1. …as 2019 so well illustrates!

      1. Ah yes. Ferrari’s dual-battery, amazing extra horsepower by a means so secretive even the FIA doesn’t know what it is, versus Mercedes’s publicly displayed, and somewhat obvious innovation they discussed with the FIA before hand.

        You’re right, I can’t see any difference between the two. *rolls eyes*

    2. Maybe if Ferrari had spent less time in the off-season trying to be ‘clever’ with a tobacco sponsorship logo?

      1. Yeah man totally, like it’s the same engineers that work on suspension, engine etc. who also spends their time to come up with clever sponsorship logo so yeah, Ferrari cannot spare a few designers to work on a logo design without interrupting technical r&d. Sounds totally plausible.

        1. Obviously. But it does show a weird set of values within the team. They need to be generating positive reports about their car, not their smirking attitude, ‘yeah we’re just pretending it’s not about tobacco and you can’t prove otherwise,’ to a serious health issue. It coats Ferrari in an immediate veneer of dishonesty. And then they and their fans wonder why everyone automatically assumes they’re cheating with their power unit etc…

    3. Difference is that Mercedes isn’t hiding or denying their new system. Plus if the allegations against Ferrari were true, it’s logical it got banned, as it would a clear case of cheating. The rules state that the fuel flow can only be a X amount, not that the sensor should read a X amount.

      1. Neither was Ferrari. If the fuel rate was meant to be X amount, it is also the FIA’s responsibility to design sensor that can detect any irregularities. The fact that was no irregularity was found means that Ferrari was indeed still found[by the FIA] to be legitimate. Had you done your research properly, you would’ve found out that they were still marginally the fastest on the straights (barring the US gp).

        As someone who is a mechanical engineer, I am actually impressed by Mercedes’ new discovery. It’s beauty to my eyes to which I would give the “green light”. However, the F1 community is so full of double standards, much like during the meltdown during the ’09-’13 seasons and the double diffuser era (to which we have fans THIS DAY proclaiming that RedBull were cheating despite them not coming up with the original concept).

        1. @lebz the problem comes in that what Ferrari were alleged to be doing seems to have involved interfering with the operation of the fuel sensor to prevent it from observing irregularities – that is a more serious charge, since it involves interfering with a device intended to monitor the legality of the car, not just attempting to work around it.

        2. @lebz

          is also the FIA’s responsibility to design sensor that can detect any irregularities.

          And presumably FIA’s responsibility to design sensors to detect when something has been designed to deliberately bypass their sensors?

        3. the meltdown during the ’09-’13 seasons and the double diffuser era (to which we have fans THIS DAY proclaiming that RedBull were cheating despite them not coming up with the original concept).

          @lebz You remember wrong part of the controversy. It’s not the double diffuser (which a controversy in ’09 when BrawnGP dominate, but it’s already cleared in mid ’09 that it is legal). The biggest controversy with Red Bull is the blown diffuser, not double diffuser. It’s one of Newey’s obsession since McLaren days (remember the octopus exhaust?). And after that, it’s the Renault engine mapping that allegedly giving Vettel car traction control, with the height of it during Singapore GP where his tire marks looks suspicious.

    4. Yes ok the favored team with disproportionate prize money and power of veto is being victimized. Riiiiiiiiiight.

      Take your L with a shred of dignity tifoso.

      1. +1 lets not forget all the threats of quiting from a certain loudmouth president if things arent done their way.

    5. Did Ferrari introduce a new steering system thats exactly the same as that one? No?

      Also everyone can see the damn thing.

  5. Well done to Mercedes for the innovatio but if it was Ferrari, we would have condemned them. Including me.

    1. If it is within the rules then the FIA should give them the year with it then ban it for next year and close any loop hole. Clearly the suspension rules were based around stopping active suspension not tyre angle changes. Teams already have some elements of suspension height changes on steering thanks to another Mercedes innovation. Ultimately if the tyre angle change does not occur due to any change in suspension geometry then the other teams will have to just take this on the chin.

      Burning oil to produce extra power in your engine by using alternative methods to introduce the oil into the combustion chamber so it wasn’t included in the engines main oil consumption figures and thus trying to cheat the regulations was clearly cheating by Ferrari last year and is completely different to clever interpretations of the rules. Ferrari are still one of the only teams to ever produce illegal parts (barge boards that exceeded size restrictions) and get away with no penalty despite it being proven the parts broke the rules. I think they got off lightly with a technical directive to clarify rather than the FIA doing it’s job, catching them red handed and banning them (similar precedent set when Honda were caught in 2006 being underweight).

      1. @slowmo Ferrari are not the only team to produce illegal parts and to get away with no penalty – on the contrary, there are a lot of examples of illegal cars that were breaking the rules, sometimes quite blatantly, but weren’t penalised.

        Just look at, for example, the 1981 season – at the San Marino GP, the cheating was so blatant that the stewards initially threatened to disqualify nearly 90% of the entire grid (out of 16 participants, only 2 – Renault and Toleman – were declared legal). It basically took Balestre agreeing to bend the rules before the cars were allowed to participate, as even he realised that disqualifying almost every single team was a bit too far.

        1. @anon I don’t hold much weight on the pre 90’s governance of the sport which was frankly corrupt at the time but it says something when you have to go back more than 30 years to find an example. I can’t think of 1 example where a team has got away with failing inspection post race on a illegal part since the early 90’s.

          I don’t have issues with teams pushing the boundaries but flat out cheating and a lack of transparency is an issue and I believe Ferrari did step over a line. Time will tell though as such things will not stay secret forever.

          1. @slowmo I picked that case because it was a famous extreme scenario but, if you would prefer a more modern example, there is 2012 and the floor that was fitted to the RB8 for the first quarter of the season.

            The teams were already complaining to the FIA as early as the Bahrain GP, and those complaints intensified at the Monaco GP. At the following race in Canada, the FIA instructed Red Bull that the floor was illegal and that they had to change the floor – they allowed Red Bull’s previous results with that illegal floor to stand, but stated that the car would be disqualified if Red Bull used that floor again.

            There was also a quite strong argument put forward by Willem Toet that, whilst on paper the double diffusers were legal, in practise he doesn’t believe that any of the designs that were used in 2009 or 2010 were legal. It means that, in 2010, probably the only cars on the grid that were legal would have been those from the three newest teams, and probably the entire 2009 field once they all bolted a double diffuser onto their cars.

            The FIA agreed to let things go, but probably knew that the double diffusers were illegal in practise – with Toet suggesting it was probably a political decision to let them use illegal cars, since disqualifying the teams that had them would have killed Brawn GP, put Williams at risk of collapse and probably driven Toyota to quit on the spot, all of which would have cast the sport and the FIA in an extremely bad light in public.

            In the case of Honda, it was actually in 2005 that the team was disqualified and banned for two races for having an illegal fuel tank fitted to the car. In that case, though, the FIA was harsher because the team had been using that illegal tank since at least the start of the 2005 season – it is possible that they might have had that device fitted to the car before 2005 as well – so in their case it was repeated violations of the regulations that resulted in that penalty.

            However, it was only in Imola that the team were disqualified – they were technically allowed to keep their results from the previous races, though since reliability problems meant they only finished the Australian GP, and that was outside of the points, it seems that the other teams didn’t really mind about BAR not being disqualified from those races as well.

  6. Looks like Merc unlike Ferrari had been engaging the FIA on the system. . .So, no I don’t think we can compare it with the Ferrari situation. . .Why the Drama chaps?

    1. Can’t see why through your silver tinted glasses then?

      1. Which part of this system is illegal?

        1. The steering! It should be autonomous programmed by ignorant fans.

  7. What about the parc ferme rules? Isn’t it illegal to change the cars toe in and out after qualifying?

    1. As I understand it No changes allowed between quali and the race. And there won’t be. No driver, no changes!

  8. “with the steering wheel fixed …”

    That’s the relevant point. Mercedes have been smart enough to realise that if they control this with the steering wheel, it’s legal. If it was a pedal, lever, dial, or automatic system, it almost certainly wouldn’t be. Very clever. It reminds me of the “f-duct”; as long as it had no moving parts, it wasn’t a “moveable aerodynamic device”.

    It’s probably worth noting that A Certain Other Site thinks this has more to do with mitigating some of the difficulties caused by the geometry introduced a year or two ago that lowers the front suspension during cornering (much commented-on at the time, especially a year ago when many other teams copied it), rather than adjusting toe simply for the sake of it.

    1. Doesn’t the push/pull mechanism constitute a new device? A dial that is also a button shouldn’t be seen as one device, but two devices built within the same physical object.

    2. Whether it’s done by lever, pully, steering wheel, or telepathy … if the rules say “suspension” adjustments may not be made while the car is moving, then the emphasis falls on the definition of what is part of suspension work.

      Anyone is motorsport will tell you that toe, camber, ride height, damping, etc all form part of suspension setup.

      All any team will need to prove is that Mercedes (or the majority of the teams) currently – or have in the past – employed a specialist (or even just a mechanic) to adjust the suspension … & their job included toe adjustments.

      1. Their job may well have included toe adjustment, that doesn’t mean it’s part of the suspension.

        1. Their title and employment would have dictated that.
          And since many of the people move around the paddock, finding a whole host of them to say “I worked on suspension setup, & it was understood toe was part of that brief” will be fairly simple.

          Try not get caught up in the Mercedes PR BS on this, no matter how blind a fan you may be.
          They may suddenly be trying to spin this as something else, but everyone down the pitlane there and around the world knows was toe setup falls under.

      2. The toe is set in the pits. But as has been the case for decades (Ackerman), the toe changes once the steering wheel moves… Granted, I’d have told you the steering wheel only rotates, but more fool me.

      3. It’s not the “suspension” that’s being adjusted. It’s theorized that it’s the steering shaft/column that’s adjusted, which pulls on the rack & tie rods & that affects the toe (which happens all the time any way when you turn the wheel, under deflection, aero load, braking, over curbs, etc.) Tie rods aren’t technically a part of the suspension, they’re part the part of the steering system that connects to the suspension. It’s firmly in a grey area. It’s purely mechanical. Nothing in the rules explicitly prohibits this. Everyone whose opinion I trust in the F1 & motorsports community seems to be in agreement on this point, not that it matters any.

        1. Using the steering column to adjust a suspension component doesn’t suddenly mean the suspension component isn’t being adjusted.

          It’s clearly NOT steering the car, which is allowed … since the driver can adjust the toe in or out by pushing or pulling on the steering wheel … while on the straight.
          There are a great many things a driver may and may not do with that steering wheel, all listed in black and white … and the rules are explicit – suspension may not be adjusted while on the move.

          1. But there’s a loophole. The regulations are worded to allow the motion of the steering wheel to turn the front wheels (for obvious reasons) but they don’t constrain the way that can happen. There’s nothing in there that says the only way you can link the steering wheel to the front wheels is through a conventional steering rack so turning the wheel makes the car steer that way.

          2. Exactly Dale. If they are going down a straight and change the toe, that is being done for a future benefit of speed, tire temp, and or suspension geometry. NOT for the immediate need to turn the car. So the primary purpose is not steering the car, it’s to change the suspension for a task that comes later. That should make it foul of the rules. IMHO

  9. Great, yet another pair of buttons to map when F1 2020 is released!

    1. @nordic This is a great point!

      1. @nordic I do wonder whether someone at Codemasters is having a headache over this right now.

        1. Ok, let’s buy the new Fanatecs, Logitech’s and Thrustmaster with DAS system on the wheels!!!

  10. Will be interesting to get some legitimate feedback on what it does and of course … why .
    If it is a toe angle setting, is this for tire temperature control, for drag reduction, to adjust for geometry changes under high down-force conditions (on the straights), when cornering or …. something else.?
    Craig S. has some coverage on the saga …
    Also nice to see Craig is deep into the racing mind-set. He already has the Race-Weekend-Stubble thing well under way.
    Awesome that we have such a fabulous start to the 2020 season … gonna be loads of fun.

  11. no adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion.

    Sorry, but this says Mercedes’ DAS system isn’t legal. You can’t be adjusting the toe or camber or alignment of the front wheels while the car is moving. That’s not to say Mercedes can’t use it at the pre-season testing, but I can’t see how the FIA say it is legal.

    1. adjusting toe is not a suspension setting. So unless we have it wrong, on the face of it, it’s legal.

      1. If anyone has been employed by Mercedes in the past to work on the car suspension adjustments, and they made adjustments to the toe of the cars, then Mercedes are tacitly admitting that the toe is a suspension adjustment.

        You will find they have definitely done so, so now trying to suddenly claim it isn’t part of the suspension to push through this device isn’t going to fly legally.

        1. Zzz. Adjusting the toe isn’t adjusting the suspension. We had better stop pit stops, after all a lot of an F1 cars suspension is in the wheels.

        2. There’s a problem of logic in your supposition that because a suspension guy adjusted the toe it is a suspension device. He also made the tea and provided biscuits so unless you are claiming that a bag of Tetley’s and a custard cream are somehow part of the suspension set up…

          1. No, there’s a problem with yours.

            Legally the assumption will always be that the suspension guy works on suspension.
            Guaranteed Mercedes have always called that suspension adjustments within their own team, until suddenly now it became inconvenient for them to do so.
            Proving they’ve always called those toe adjustments “suspension adjustments” will be easy to prove in court. Easy. They can’t suddenly just claim a change in accepted definitions because it suits them. Legal system doesn’t work like that.

          2. Norweigan salmon
            20th February 2020, 20:50

            you’re talking a load of falsehood. the “suspension guy” adjusts the toe -by adjusting the suspension-. This is independent of the steering wheel rack. Toe is not a factual “thing”. It simply resembles the orientation of the wheels relative to each other on one plain axis. how that orientation of the weels is achieved can be through suspension adjustments *or*, in Mercedes’s case, steering wheel adjustments.

            “Legally the assumption will always be that the suspension guy works on suspension”
            But it does *not* mean that the suspension guy cant work on other things as well.

          3. My logic is sound. Simply because you do one principal job as a mechanic does not mean everything else you do falls under that remit. It might help if you can you name a single individual whose sole job it is to work on the suspension and that alone and prove that they also are solely responsible for toe adjustments. I’m guessing you’ll struggle. You sound so certain that toe adjustments have always been called suspension adjustments and that it will be easy to prove – well we shall see, but it ain’t something I’ve ever heard. Not even pretending I fully understand what toe does to be honest, but I feel that although it may impinge on suspension, it’s not it’s main function and it’s more stability and cornering. Perhaps there’s a suspension guy reading this who can verify?

      2. If toe isn’t a suspension adjustment,then that implies that none of the static geometry changes that can be made are suspension adjustments.

        Is claiming that camber and caster aren’t suspension adjustments going to be your hill?

        1. I think the point is that it’s ok to alter the toe with steering inputs but not through changes to the suspension (the suspension moves as.a.result)

          1. I believe this is the crucial bit that makes it currently legal, & possibly why Mercedes made sure to call it “Dual Axis”: regular steering adjustments continuously affects the toe angle, so there can’t be any rule preventing this. All Mercedes will have to argue they’re doing is still using the steering to do what it does all the time (purely mechanical & purely at the behest of the driver), albeit along a different axis. Since there’s no rule specifically prohibiting that, it’s legal.

          2. Thanks Aldoid.

            I do think it’s a stretch though. The FIA could perfectly argue it’s illegal.

        2. I mean on the other hand if you are stating it is illegal for moving the steering wheel to rotate the wheels then we are going to have to get a lot more drag racing tracks on the calander.

      3. Toe is a suspension setting just like camber, kingpin angle, caster or camber gain.

        1. Norweigan salmon
          20th February 2020, 20:53

          False. Toe represents the relative orientation of the wheels to each other. Adjusting toe is usually done by adjusting the suspension. Toe itself is simply an independent “value”. Technically speaking, a team could change the toe by putting on angled wheelnuts while the suspension settings remain exactly the same. It just wouldnt be practical in any way to do so.

          1. Not true. Steering is part of suspension geometry and massively changes things like camber, caster, ride height and naturally toe. Adjusting toe you are literally adjusting the steering linkages which also affects your ackerman. I’ve never heard that someone would adjust toe by angling their wheelnuts(?)… I’m not saying that couldn’t happen but why would anyone “angle their wheelnuts” when they can just adjust the steering rod length… or in the case of f1 adjust the steer rod, move some spacers around or change uprights.

        2. Yeah, and bump steer changes toe. So all steering linkages have to have zero bump steer? That’s certainly not the case………

        3. @socksolid It’s basically steering the wheels. Just not both in the same direction as usualy, but in opposite direction.

          It doesn’t make sense to claim that changing the direction of the wheels is an illegal “suspension effect setting” of a steering wheel.

  12. This is the reason why I dislike the idea that Ross Brawn has been talking about rerading wanting to move towards standard spec suspension & steering system because ‘fans can’t see them’ or ‘There not a performance benefit’.

    We may not be able to see the detailed bits that make it work & it may not be a significant performance benefit but this sort of really clever thinking & innovative ideas is exactly the sort of thing i’d like to see more of in F1 because to me it’s a big part of what F1 should be about.

    1. @stefmeister Are you sure they’re moving towards standard spec suspension and steering systems? I think I need to see that in print somewhere, because I don’t think so.

      1. @robbie As of now there not but it is something Ross Brawn spoke about wanting to do.

        Think it was an interview with Brundle on Sky where he mentioned standard steering, suspension, brakes, radiators, steering wheels & pedals because they were all things that didn’t add much, were very expensive & that fans couldn’t see & didn’t care about.

      1. @stefmeister @hohum So I just watched a couple of interviews with Brawn and Brundle, from early days (a couple of years ago) and from last year, and I can only discern from Brawn’s own words that he is not wanting to convert to standard anywhere near the components you are mentioning.

        Really, I do implore you to study this a bit more closely, rather than just relying on something you think he said from an interview. You might have your mind eased if you really listen to what he is saying, and it is all about the low hanging fruit, the ‘low performance’ items as he puts it, that only the bigger teams can and will chase for the minutest gain, because they can. If you can correct me while you are ensuring your info is correct, then I will stand corrected.

        Please, unless you can find quotes, I’m sure nowhere has Brawn suggested, nor the teams agreed (and let’s be clear, the teams have all agreed the terms and are going ahead with their 2021 cars as we speak) to things you have implied such as steering systems (he has mentioned steering columns), suspension, steering wheels, radiators, brakes. At least, if some of these ‘systems’ are being standardized it might only be one component, one part, but not whole systems. Yeah he mentioned things like brake pedals, wheel nuts, things nobody but the engineers would care about, as he puts it.

        But really, as I’ve already mentioned, we just saw a headline here about Newey already very much working on the 2021 RBR car. This is the Newey that has not been afraid to speak his mind when he has felt curtailed once in a while, from doing his job of innovating, all the while he knowing that with freedom to innovate comes higher costs to compete. Point being, have your heard him complain? The horses have already left the barn in terms of your concerns, things have hit the drawing board, and not a peep of complaint from Newey. Or at least that I’ve heard, and nothing that has stood out and that we have discussed here because of some negative tone from him or what have you regarding too much standardization.

        You know Ross Brawn is not the enemy here. He, and indeed the very teams you think are being forced to build spec cars, are on the same page in making everything in F1 better. Nobody wants nor is trying to make F1 spec. They are trying to make it financially sustainable, while keeping it as non-spec as possible, all of them collectively together. They’ve negotiated this stuff about and bounced ideas around together for hours. And have agreed a format, always subject to tweaking, never perfect for all concerned. All because things got out of hand and it has been a money game and an aero game for far too long. Yeah it’s too bad F1 isn’t full of 12 teams that all have the resources of Mercedes and Ferrari and can just innovate and spend themselves into oblivion for their and our pleasure, but that’s just not reality. The prudent thing at this particular juncture, is to haul back on the reins and get things under control. As they’ve all agreed to do. It’s such a hard balancing act between the DNA of F1 that includes innovation, and keeping 3 or 4 top teams in check from ruining everything for everyone if they were just allowed to keep making cars that can’t race together well, while burying smaller teams from ever winning anything, and shutting out new entrants at the same time.

        Brawn should be applauded for his work. It is smart and caring and organized and exactly what F1 needed. It is wholly unfair to accuse him of ignoring any of the aspects, as he has had to balance everything all at once, by getting ten different teams on board. They’re on board with what is spec and why (the essential cost savings and a little more balance of power), and have well accepted it, as should you. Why be outraged if the teams aren’t?

  13. The only thing I have to say about this : it’s really cool. (and by far the most interesting development of testing to date).

    1. Zzz. Adjusting the toe isn’t adjusting the suspension. We had better stop pit stops, after all a lot of an F1 cars suspension is in the wheels.

  14. Mercedes is either really onto something here, or this is a really elaborate ruse to distract their competitors during a critical time of year.

    Either way, well done to them. (And speaking as a Ferrari fan… “Dammit”.)

  15. I must assume that this isn’t a hydraulic powered function of the steering wheel/column otherwise it would be illegal. On video it seemed relatively easy to push/pull at high speeds which would make one think it would be a hydraulic powered systems. Very interesting.

    It opens a whole lot of other things teams can develop around this push/pull mechanism.

    1. DAS beste oder nichts!

  16. If Renault’s mass damper system was illegal because it was moveable aerodynamic device (when it really wasn’t), then this should be banned for the same reason if it affects ride height and aero to any degree which it seems it does.

    1. Except it doesn’t adjust the ride height or aero. It adjusts the toe angle on the front wheels which affects the contact patch with the track. It essentially points the wheels towards/away from each other. More angle is better for cornering, less angle for straights.

      It does not affect the geometry of the suspension, and appears (in order to comply with the regulations) is adjusted by the steering rack.

    2. @balue It turns the wheels. That’s what a steering wheel does. Although in this case the wheels turn a tad in opposite directions.

      So you want to claim a steering wheel is an illegal moveable aerodynamic device? Aerodynamic influence, sure. Illegal no.

      1. The wheels are the aero art here, being adjusted on the straight for aero gain, just happens to be operated by the steering wheel.

    3. Just because something is operated by the steering wheel obviously doesn’t necessarily mean it is steering.

      About the ride height, Scarborough is suggesting it does affect it:

  17. I wonder if we’ll have another situation this year like we had last year where an innovation was found to be within the technical regulations that the stewards will prohibit using a vague sporting regulation in the same way as they DQ’d Renault’s braking system.

    It seems that satisfying technical regs is only the first step.

  18. The rules stated the “suspension system” cannot be adjusted in motion. It did not say “suspension geometry cannot be altered”, because geometry like toe, camber is related to the position and they change as the suspension move up and down. For the Mercedes system, no suspension components change in length. The moving steering rack is part of steering system which is not required to be fixed. This seems to fit the current set of rules.

  19. Well played Mercedes. Brilliant. Love it

  20. This is F1 in its essence. Finding loopholes with clever thinking to gain advantage. Ferrari did the same in the end of the eighties with paddle shifters.

  21. If I remember correctly things have been deemed illegal based on primary and secondary purpose. So adjusting the steering wheel forward or back isn’t steering the car at the time it is done by the driver. It is done for a future benefit such as aero, tire temp, or future benefit to improve turning. So that to me says it should be banned. There are other things to consider too like safety, spirit of the regulations, etc. Although that’s my opinion, kudos to the engineers that came up with it. The arms race between the rules and their interpretation is one of F1s best parts.

    1. @twiinzspeed But it’s basically still only altering the direction of the tyres, just in another plane, the suspension responds accordingly. That steering input assists steering in the corners and on the straight (providing more stability). The fact it has or may have secondary benefits (on tyre wear, aero etc) can only be considered secondary, even if those benefits end up being more valuable in terms of higher racing speed (or faster time over a race distance due to lower tyre wear or whatever).

  22. This thing should be banned on safety grounds. It’s just another thing that can fail in the car, seems dangerous to use in wheel to wheel racing. Also seems to circumvent rules on moving aero parts. The wheels are moved on straights to change straight line speed it seems.

  23. No one has really mentioned it, but wouldn’t this be classed as a driving aid?

    1. Yes.
      Like the steering wheel. Connected to hydraulic assisted steering. Big driver aid there.
      More driver aids:
      Brake pedal, with hydraulic and electrical assistance.
      Drive-by-wire accelerator pedal.
      Electric/hydraulic assisted paddle shift
      ICE/hybrid drivetrain.
      Electrically controlled differential

      In fact, the entire car is just a rolling driver aid. Ban the cars! It’s the only way to know for sure. ;-)

      1. hahah, i laughed

  24. I’m on team this is part of the suspension hence it illegality. Also there’s another issue: it’s a safety hazard.
    The driver is altering how the car handles during the turns which involves moving steering wheel in an unnatural and potentially dangerously way. Kinda like how drivers where removing their hands off the steering wheel to cover the duct hole in 2010.
    Pretty sure any team can lodge a safety complaint (in Australia) and this thing is done.

  25. There’s a rumour doing the rounds at Barcelona, that Racing Point will be running the Trombone system at next week’s testing.

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