Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Mercedes have no concerns over legality of new ‘DAS’ steering system

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes have no concerns over the legality of the new steering system which was spotted on their Formula 1 car during testing today.

[f1tv2020testa]Onboard footage from the W11 showed Lewis Hamilton moving the wheel towards himself at the pit lane exit and away again as he approached turn one. He repeated the process at other points around the Circuit de Catalunya.

The footage prompted speculation over exactly what the device is controlling. Speaking to media in an FIA press conference at the track, technical director James Allison revealed little of the operation of the device.

“I probably won’t shed a great deal more light than what you saw on the TV,” he said. “But we have a system in the car, it’s a novel idea. We’ve got a name for it, it’s called DAS. And it just introduces an extra dimension for steering for the driver we’re hopefully will be useful during the year.

“But precisely how we use it, where we use it, that’s something we’ll keep to ourselves.

Asked whether he was concerned it could be ruled illegal, Allison said “not really.”

Mercedes call their novel steering system 'DAS'
Mercedes call their novel steering system ‘DAS’
“This isn’t news to the FIA,” he added. “It’s something we have been talking to them about for some time. The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems and we feel confident that it matches all of those requirements.”

Hamilton said he has no concerns over the safety of the system. “I’ve only had one morning with it so I don’t have a lot to really talk about it. We’re just trying to get on top of it, trying to understand it.

“But safety-wise no problem today. The FIA are OK with the project. For me it’s really encouraging to see my team is continuing to innovate and stay ahead of the game and I think that’s just down to the great minds we have working in this team.”

The device is only the most obvious of the many innovations on the new W11, according to Allison. “Perhaps one of the things that’s not greatly appreciated is that each of the new cars we bring to the track are just festooned with innovation,” he said. “It’s just they’re not always as obvious to you as a discrete, standalone system like this where you can see it with your own eyes.

“But one of the things that gives me massive pride in working at Mercedes is to be part of a team that doesn’t just turn the sausage handle each year and is looking each year to figure out how we can learn fast enough to bring these innovations to the track and make them stick.

“So this is fun. But it’s only the tip of an iceberg of similar stuff that’s written across the car.”

“I’m just pleased we got it on the car, it seems to be use-able and we’ll find out over the coming days how much benefit it brings us,” he added.

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Dieter Rencken
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55 comments on “Mercedes have no concerns over legality of new ‘DAS’ steering system”

  1. Top people that work for this team, as a Ferrari fan I can only applaud their innovation time after time.

  2. Just caught this on YT – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtsmEIQcv80

    This new steering looks like a whole other muscle memory for the Mercedes drivers.
    How practical this ‘push pull’ steering will be over the course of a season remains to be seen.
    Its bound to suite some circuits better than others.

    it also kind of confirms my suspicion that there is more ‘day light’ under these cars, possibly due to this altered ride height.

  3. Some really clever thinking went into finding that loophole and designing a system to exploit it.
    I’ve looked in the regs and it seems legal to me.

  4. Nah, not DAS, but Trombone steering wheel.

    Don’t blame me, it was Ted Kravitz.

  5. was ist DAS?
    It’s no yoke

    1. LOL

      Though ”Dual Axis Steering” well, I suppose that works too.

    2. Driver Assisted Steering which it’s ofcourse untill they make it automatic.

  6. Just as I though in my other post from today – Mercedes made sure it is legal.

    Man, it is only the second day of testing, but I can’t wait for Race 1 already! I want to see this car in a proper race!

  7. Doesn’t reducing toe on the tires also reduce wear down the straights? Could this end up giving a few laps more use? Innovative for sure and I wonder how difficult it would be for other teams to copy this anytime soon if it’s deemed legitimate.

    1. Yep, completely parallel front wheels will preserve the tyres much better as well as making the thing more slippery in a straight line. Genius.

      1. Another YT analysis – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF3oSp1OYZ0

        Any other team introducing this system would also need time for their drivers to adapt.
        In fact those drivers would also need a whole new work out regime to aquire the muscle memory
        and muscle bulk to operate this system.

  8. I’d have thought Mercedes world have kept this innovation in their back pocket until 2021, and used it then to ensure their car had an advantage even if they got some other part of their 2021 contender wrong.

    They obviously have other factors in their risk/reward calculations that we are not privy to.

    1. I think the regulations around this area are being tightened up for next year. There won’t be as much room for innovation, if I remember correctly. This is the last chance for them to try something like this. It’s probably been an idea they’ve been sitting on for a while but it probably hadn’t made sense yet in terms of development time/cost vs the advantage it brings (just my speculation). Historically, a lot of “trick” innovations of this type seem to get implemented when the regulations are mature & all the low hanging developmental fruit have already been plucked & replicated up & down the pit lane.

  9. D.A.S is already a commonly used term in I.T. this just adds to confusion while discussing with friends.

    1. … Like most 3-letter acronyms? I’m pretty sure everyone will survive.

    2. Find your friends outside the I. T. then.

      1. Most of my friends following F1 fans are working in IT(only 1 is from manufacturing sector), my friends outside of IT dont follow F1 its either football or cricket(Indian phenomenon) in that group.

    3. Mate nobody is going to confuse direct attached storage with a steering system on a racing car bit different come on lad you’re reaching a bit here 🤣

      1. I really don’t need to add to the nursery but isn’t f1s braking systems all JBOD

        1. Nerdery not nursery

  10. Already plenty of screaming & moaning on other sites for the FIA to ban this. Lots of claims it’d be banned if Ferrari or RBR did it first… lot’s of quoting regulations it supposedly runs afoul of. And it seems that Merc’s nonchalance over any legality issues has only convinced some people that the FIA were in on the “cheat” for years now as well. Even “safety” issues have been raised by the armchair brigade. Me? I’m of the mindset that if Mercedes bothered to waste resources developing something that would be immediately apparent to their rivals, they also bothered to make sure it was legal first. I’ve never seen this team throw anything suspect at the proverbial wall just to see if it stuck.

    1. Alright let me ask you this when Ferrari ran those Halo mounted rear-view mirrors there was nothing in the regulations prohibiting their use yet they were told to get rid of them now when Mercedes AMG invests money into a device that is questionable than it’s fine? How was it fair constantly updating technical directives to counter some PU trickery Ferrari was doing in 2018 and 2019 and never once ask Mercedes to cut back on oil burning through 2014-2017 and even then only after Ferrari caught up and began benefiting more from the idea?

      1. there was nothing in the regulations prohibiting their use

        Yes there was. There are no aerodynamic deveices allowed in that region. So “mounting” had to be for mounting purposes (mainly) and not clearly for aerodynamic purposes.

        never once ask Mercedes to cut back on oil burning through 2014-2017

        Why would they? Only when Ferrari installed an oil tank for the excessive oil burning did it become an actual issue. Mercedes never did anything that blatantly obvious.

        1. Wait what? by that definition Ferrari power unit shenanigans were never too obvious, for most onlookers it seemed like Ferrari made a very slippery car with powerful engine. Still investigation after investigation followed with several technical directives aimed at clearing up the issue. Being obvious to engineers doesn’t mean it is obvious to layman case and point no one had any idea about Mercedes oil burning trickery while Ferrari engineers caught up to it immediately and copied it perfected it even. “Obvious” has nothing to do with it it’s just current FIA management is more lenient towards Mercedes as back in late 90s they used to be lenient towards Ferrari.

  11. I think Mercedes hides something other thing. But to hide that they tried to attract to other stuff and in did that right in the first’s days of testing !

    That’s clever. Everybody talks about possible fake stuff and we know that Mercedes always did that, remember previous year ? Let’s show begins!

  12. Brilliant idea, smartly executed, obviously loads of future potential development.
    This is what Formula 1 is supposed to be about. All cleared with FIA already. But watch the losers complain.

    1. @david-br
      “Brilliant idea, smartly executed”
      Based on?

      1. I meant smartly executed in the sense of clearing it with FIA (apparently), nothing technical, presumably the tech is as smart as you’d expert from Mercedes.

  13. This looks a lot like a “Distract Attention System” to me.
    In the videos, It looks like Ham “closes” the wheel in the straight, which doesn’t make any advantage in terms of drag or tyres consumption. So:
    1) the system is used to maintain temperatures on tyres at consumption expenses, or
    2) toe doesn’t varies at all, but it’s a optic effect from the grandangular lens, while the wheels “simply” approach each other, gaining aerodinamical and cooling advantages
    In any case, I hardly believe that this could be used in races

  14. Personally I’m happy with any novelty that involves the driver’s mechanical/pneumatic input. Just pushing a button to adjust something seems like a soft cheat. But getting the driver to have to use their body (rather than just a digit) to control input adds to the driver ‘analogical’ skill factor and so helps differentiate them (the drivers) – which is the whole point. Fine by me.

  15. Hut off to Mercedes. I havent felt so impressed with something since 2008 and Brawn blown diffuser era. This is why i follow F1, not only because i like a specific team which in my case is Ferrari but the technological innovations that F1 continues to give to the world.
    Imagine also this system as an active Camber device that is controlled with a CPU to an exotic car that alters dinamically the camber throw turning according to G forces, driver steering input, speed etc. Big Sport Car manufacturers like Ferrari or Lamborgini dont have something like this in their road cars and it will be big gains if they implement it. Go a bit forward some years and add this system to normal road cars like the ones we all drive and imagine this as a system on them not only for gaining cornering speed but as a safety system also.

    Kudos to MB, im impressed.

    1. Actually this is an entirely manual system. The driver pulls the entire assembly which aligns the wheels via the steering rack, anything assisted, automated or powered would cause an impossible weight penalty and packaging headache.

      It’s actually much simpler than the systems deployed on modern supercars which almost makes it even more impressive that they can innovate within such a restricted environment.

      1. I am totally wrong what i say above.. it doesnt change the camber but the toe, so the gains that i explain are not so big, but i can patent my idea of changing camber and i will sell it :)

  16. Cue cry baby christen Horner, that merc are to good and making it boring 😂

  17. I doubt about the potential time gains obtained from this system. If it were so good, why would you show it during the second test day? At least I would wait until next week to secure most races as possible with this well-deserved advantage.
    For me it feels like Mercedes is trying to focus the attention where they want to. So, I am wondering if this system deserves money and time to be developed during this season…

    At least, I believe there should be some engineers starting to code this tool in the some racing simulators at this moment.

    1. Wrong. It’s an entirely new input with significant physicality that the drivers need to adjust to, they need all the practice they can get. Completely parallel wheels with zero toe out on a straight is a big deal.

  18. Wrong. It’s an entirely new input with significant physicality that the drivers need to adjust to, they need all the practice they can get. Completely parallel wheels with zero toe out on a straight is a big deal.

  19. Tried this many years ago in a lower formula. The driver got too confused, and the team could not see the gain. I suspect this might be a Mercedes ploy to get others to spend money on this instead of working on 2021 car. Smart move if that is the case.

    1. That driver wouldn’t do too well in modern F1 then. This is quite an intuitive thing for the driver compared to twiddling tiny little dials. It’s one big physical movement on the straights which I imagine might be immensely satisfying if weighted nicely. Especially as you cruise past a red car.

    2. So Mercedes spent the money developing this as a ploy to get other teams to spend money?

    3. As Vettel said, they adapted to the F-Duct. F1 drivers need to be adaptable– and Hamilton has shown to be more adaptable than most.

  20. Brawn: we want close battles and if any design something expensive that not everybody can do we will ban it.

    Mercedes: look what only we did.

    Brawn: this is fine, this is innovation., everyone should try to outsmart theese people.

    1. Ross brawn isnt in charge of the fia. He cant ban anything under the current rules & regulations

    2. It isn’t 2021 yet pal. Go back into hibernation.

  21. So we have a manually operatable system that, by realligning the front wheels, is capable of positively influencing the aerodynamics of a car by reducing the drag from the front wheels and making the outwash better manageable…….
    See ya in court, fellas.

    1. Yes, it’s called ‘steering.’

    2. Actually, changing the toe-in of the wheels will probably *adversely* affect the aerodynamics, since they can’t change the aero to match the angle of the wheel.

  22. Lol. I wonder if this will get into definitions of steering and “primary” function, etc.

    Even if it’s banned before Melbourne, they’ve already cost some resources of some other teams’ CAD designers.

  23. What does it do?

  24. *Vettel pointing at Hamiltons onboard footage* Vot is DAS!?

    …and apparently Helmut Marko was overheard saying “..Well DAS is DAS then”

    Enjoy the testing folks. :-)

    1. Had a quiet chuckle ( QC ?) at that.

    2. haha, that was good, thank you

  25. I’m surprised they are bringing this up so early in testing, and being so clear and open about it, even giving it a name…

    Maybe it’s a game to get all the others working on something that isn’t there…

    1. @fer-no65, Maybe indeed , I can just imagine the chaos now going on in red-car headquarters.

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