Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Ferrari considered but rejected similar system to Mercedes’ DAS

2020 F1 season

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Ferrari previously considered developing a similar system to Mercedes’ Dual Axis Steering, team principal Mattia Binotto has revealed.

Mercedes’ DAS system, which allows its drivers to adjust the toe angle of its front wheels by pushing and pulling the steering wheel, was spotted on its car last week. However Binotto said the concept wasn’t completely new to Ferrari.

“The DAS system is something considered in the past but we didn’t design and develop it,” he explained. Ferrari didn’t pursue the idea partly because of concerns over its “legality”, he said.

Ferrari also weren’t sure it would suit their car, said Binotto. “We believed it [would] not work well at least for our car and for our car concept,” he said.

The team has not yet ruled out the possibility of developing its own version of the system this year. “We are looking at what the others are doing,” said Binotto. “At the moment [it’s] really a question mark, not sure we’ll develop it.”

Binotto said he had “no idea” whether the system is entirely hydraulic or incorporates electronic components, and doesn’t have a firm view on whether it complies with the rules.

“We really think it’s difficult for us to judge,” he said. “We don’t know the exact system. But I’m pretty sure FIA will made made the right judgment.”

Read more about DAS in today’s RacingLines column: Why Mercedes could still fight a legality fight after reinventing the steering wheel

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2020 F1 season

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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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  • 19 comments on “Ferrari considered but rejected similar system to Mercedes’ DAS”

    1. Yes, Mattia, of course you did.

      1. I think he’s saying the truth. Pretty sure some other teams thought about it too. The idea is nothing genius, only the system might be. In some other article is said to be inspired from aviation. And it’s no miracle either that only a big team came up with something like this, to invest time and money in something that might not be used in the end.

        1. So he’s saying the truth here, but no one believes him when he says Ferrari are behind Mercedes for pure pace?

        2. The bit that tickles me is that he say they had concerns over legality. What has that ever stopped them? That’s what makes me doubt his statement.

      2. I heard about it, DAVS, the dual axis Vettel spinning.

    2. Sure… sure you did.

      1. they probably considered a system that would do something similar, but I guess they didn’t know how to use the loophole like Mercedes did. Doing it at the suspension level would have been an easy solution for most teams with big budgets, but wasn’t legal and bypassing the rules needed more creativity.

        1. Indeed @gechichan. I was being a little facetious there. Still, in some ways it’s even worse that they thought of a similar idea and couldn’t get it to work within the regulations unlike their main rival.

    3. Ferrari also considered winning but decided against that as well.

    4. I don’t believe the system is hydraulic or electronic, it is possible to create this system purely mechanically with a steering rack on rails and a telescoping steering column.

    5. Obviously, nobody here knows for sure if he is lying or not, but, let’s think this through.

      If Ferrari did consider and decided against it, it shows they don’t have the same risk appetite for innovation as Mercedes F1. If the system shows to be successful, it will be ONE MORE time when Mercedes F1 has shown it’s superiority to SF in Engineering capabilities.

      1. -Aerodynamics is for people that can’t build engines
        -Disk Brakes are just a fad
        -Proper race cars have their engines mounted in the front

        Ferrari doesn’t exactly have the best track record for innovation

        1. @lancer033 the context in which most of those comments were made is rather telling – that is often forgotten when discussing those quotes, and sometimes the context paints those remarks in a rather different light.

          With regards to the quote that “Aerodynamics is for people that can’t build engines”, that is supposedly a quip that Enzo made to Paul Frère at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Paul Frère was apparently complaining about the limited top speed of the car.

          However, there is an indication that Enzo said that simply to make Frère stop complaining – because Forghieri has pointed out that Ferrari was also negotiating a deal with the University of Stuttgart to use their wind tunnel, which I believe they began using in 1961. It seems very unlikely that Enzo would have been involved in negotiating a lease for a wind tunnel at the same time as making that quote if he really believed aerodynamics were so unimportant.

          With regards to the use of disc brakes, I believe that part of the reason why Ferrari didn’t use disc brakes was down to commercial restrictions. In the late 1950s, I believe Ferrari was locked in to a multi-year contract with the American Brake Shoe Company to use their proprietary brake drum system, with the contract running until the 1st Jan 1959.

          There is the suggestion that Enzo was aware that brake discs were superior, but he couldn’t afford to break that contract for those drum brakes either. There is an indication that, in 1958, they were finding ways to get around the contract – they provided a car to Hawthorn with the proprietary drum brakes, but there was nothing in the contract that said that the driver couldn’t then make his own private modifications to the car afterwards. Hawthorn was therefore able to privately modify the car – the fact that it so happened to be mechanics from Ferrari who helped with the modifications was purely coincidental, of course.

          Comments about disc brakes being “a fad” might therefore have a strong element of Enzo flattering the supplier with whom he had a rather favourable commercial deal and whom he could, quite literally, not afford to alienate.

          1. That’s a very informative comment, thank you

        2. Wasn’t the gearbox shifting without a proper clutch pedal an innovation from Ferrari in the 80’s?

    6. Reminds me of when 2 guys are going for the same girl and one eventually gets her. I didn’t want her anyway. They need to fire Binotto.

      1. Please, not another firing. I’m not sure that has worked out well for Ferrari in the past.

    7. Binotto has gone from not understanding how DAS works to claiming to have thought of it earlier within 48 hours.

    Comments are closed.