Why Mercedes could still face a legality fight after reinventing the steering wheel

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Der, die, das – as any student of German knows, the language relies on a trio of complex definitive grammatical articles, which in turn denote the “gender” of the noun, with the first signifying a “masculine” object, the second “feminine” and the third (neuter).

Last week Mercedes added to that complexity by introducing a new term – DAS – to Formula 1, prompting leading German journalists to write of ‘Das DAS System’ – The DAS, or Dual Axis Steering, system.

The cunning innovation allows drivers to adjust the toe of their front wheels, either inwards or outwards, while on the move by simply pushing the steering system away (outwards) or towards themselves (inwards).

During turn-in, toe-out geometry provides more front end ‘bite’; the downside, though, is that on straights the inner edges of front tyres get punished in terms of both heat and wear over a race distance. However, during qualifying sessions or after tyre changes, there is much to be gained by heating the rubber as quickly and accurately as possible, and so an element of toe-in is useful during out-laps.

However, neutral “toe” reduces frontal area and thus drag on straights as only the forward face is presented to the air while also making for cooler tyres, with toe-in creating greater stability during straight-line travel.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
The W11’s steering wheel slides two ways to operate DAS
DAS therefore could offer Mercedes’ drivers the best option to suit their circumstances. “I think they have the freedom to do [anything] they want when they have the system on the car, they can decide what they want, how to use it,” said Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola said when asked about the system by RaceFans. “The final target is to optimise the usage of the tyres as well as the balance of the car. That may sound stupid, but it’s logical.”

Logic notwithstanding, with any new-fangled F1 developments there are inevitably questions over legality. DAS is no different.

Various F1 figures have suggested that the system breaches F1’s parc ferme regulations, which state that “a competitor may not modify any part on the car or make changes to the set-up of the suspension whilst the car is being held under parc ferme conditions.”

Which it is not, of course, while being out on track. But equally, teams need to ensure the legality of their cars at all times. The crux of the matter is whether DAS constitutes a steering or suspension device.

During an FIA media conference convened shortly after DAS made its debut on day two in Barcelona, Mercedes technical director James Allison said its existence “isn’t news to the FIA; it’s something we’ve been talking to them about for some time.” Lewis Hamilton, who had just been spotted using it, insisted: “The FIA are OK with the project,” adding there were no safety concerns, which, frankly, is to be expected from Mercedes or any team.

After the end of day three Isola put any tyre-related safety suspicions beyond doubt when he stated that [Pirelli] regularly “analyse tyres from every team to understand the levels of stress, and there is nothing unusual from Mercedes so the system is… not creating an issue.” Thus, there are no concerns on that front.

Which is all well and good, but none of the above makes DAS definitively legal: The governing body can offer opinions of legality; but the stewards hand down verdicts, and they are, of course, only called upon to rule during competitions, which testing sessions are not. Indeed, without stretching a point, a number of data-gathering devices used during testing (and practice sessions) would breach F1’s regulations if used in a race.

By the same token, Pirelli could offer its findings only where they relate to the structural integrity of tyres that have been subjected to the geometric variations provided by DAS. What about safety concerns relating to the operational aspects of DAS?

“I think from the FIA perspective, at the end of the day, safety is our number one element,” FIA race director and F1 safety delegate Michael Masi said during an FIA media conference.

“So there’s no questions regarding the safety side of it. Rest assured that is the highest priority from our side.”

Tellingly, none of the nine opposition teams homed in on safety questions as they often have with other innovations. The distinct impression lingered that those who harboured doubts about DAS did so over the question of legality or the costs of replication and development time required for what would be, at most, a single season – assuming DAS is outlawed for 2021, as most believe it will be.

That said, a number of technical directors are concerned that the hurriedly inserted Article 10.5 of the 2021 technical regulations – which defines ‘steering’ – is not sufficiently explicit and may require clarification ahead of the regulatory deadline. That deadline is not yet defined as it hinges on a revised governance process, which in turn requires an agreement with the teams (aka the Concorde Agreement) to be signed. Thus, there is still time to draft amendments.

Mercedes’ rivals expect the cost and time implications involved in duplicating DAS will be considerable. Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto opined that for his team, copying the system “will certainly be longer than the first grand prix in Melbourne.”

Mattia Binotto, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Copying DAS will take months, Binotto admits
“It is a first-concept design, production, homologation [process], it has to be safe,” he said. “If it is to be made it can’t be before mid-season.”

If Ferrari, with arguably the best facilities and biggest budget in the sport, cannot see its way clear to developing a workable DAS system in four or so months, what chance the smaller teams managing to do so before or if it is banned?

“For sure a midfield team is not going to invest resources to figure something out like this because you have got issues which give us more return for the investment,” said Guenther Steiner of budget outfit Haas. McLaren’s Andreas Seidl maintained that “where we are right now, there are other areas we have to focus on where we can make bigger steps than trying to copy another system from Mercedes.”

All of which is unequivocal: Admiration for Mercedes for the innovation, even if admitted somewhat grudgingly and with reservations about the costs incurred. Fans appear to be similarly impressed with it as well. And therein lies a lesson for the sport.

Over the years F1 carved itself a niche as an innovative motorsport category. Indeed, at one stage the most pioneering and ground-breaking of all. However as standardisation bit in the name of ‘cost saving’ – for which read ‘profits for commercial rights holders’ – so F1’s pioneering spirit became dampened.

Such philosophies kill innovation, and already Ross Brawn, managing director of motorsport for Liberty, is intent on closing off so-called loopholes through the to-be-confirmed governance process alluded to above, which will reduce the time and unanimity currently required to outlaw innovations.

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Ross Brawn, Interlagos, 2019
Brawn could close down unwanted innovations immediately
“The governance in the past has been the teams have to all agree to make a change. We’re pushing through governance where we can make changes much more on short notice than at the present time,” Brawn said recently.

Under the revised process he hopes to circumvent the unanimity clause, thus making it possible to ban a device if all teams bar the innovator agree to it. Thus this could occur almost immediately.

Perversely, often the same fan voices that cry out for technical advances in F1 decry domination by one or other team. The lesson is clear: over the ages the most reliable weapon of domination in F1 has been constant innovation. It worked for Lotus (mostly), for McLaren (regularly), for Ferrari (sporadically), for Red Bull (occasionally) and, increasingly, for Mercedes.

Kill innovation, though, and F1 stares F2 straight in the face, then flinches.

Seidl expressed it best: “First of all, hats off to Mercedes for this kind of invention which is great to see in Formula 1. Hats off also for all the publicity they created for Mercedes.” Unsaid was that DAS generated enormous publicity for F1 at a time when the sport is increasingly coming under threat from categories such as Formula E for other reasons, yet these prescribe (mostly) standard chassis.

All of which begs the question: would innovations even be possible under the budget cap? Consider the costs and specialist knowledge required to conceive, design, develop and operate such a system, which combines a variety of engineering disciplines in a compact, user-friendly and safe package.

For starters, it is doubtful whether DAS, which relies heavily on aircraft-style control systems – such as joysticks or yoke as found in aircraft, which operate directionally for turning and on forward/backward axes (nose up/down) – could have been honed to F1 levels of perfection without input from aviation experts. Indeed, the term “dual axis system” is applied in aviation terminology.

James Allison, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Mercedes designer Allison is an aviation enthusiast
It should come as no surprise then to note Mercedes’ technical director James Allison is the son of RAF air chief marshal Sir John Allison KCB CBE, a keen vintage aircraft collector and pilot who was at one stage director of operations and strategy for Jaguar Racing (now Red Bull) and once crash-landed a Messerschmitt during a demonstration flip. His son planned to qualify as a military pilot before colour blindness blocked that career path, leading him to switch to aerodynamics.

Like his father, Allison restores and pilots flies historic aircraft – they have undertaken joint projects – and is thus fully au fait with aviation systems. One can just imagine the discussion:

Engineer: James, we have this wonderful idea to adjust toe on the fly, but don’t know how to control it.
Allison, scribbling on a sheet of paper: This is how dual axis control works on the vintage Auster my dad and I rebuilt. See if you can make that work for W11. But we need to have it up and running perfectly for the 2020 tests to ensure we have it for the entire year before it gets banned. If you need to know more, call my mate Joe at the RAF.

Valtteri Bottas revealed he first heard of DAS “nearly one year ago” and it the project likely began well before then. Mercedes surely threw the weight of its considerable resources behind DAS over an extended period.

Intriguingly Mercedes’ 2019 reserve driver Esteban Ocon, who logged huge hours in their simulator last year, mentioned earlier this month than his new team Renault had agreed with Mercedes what engineering secrets would not follow him to Enstone.

“You have to be professional always, not give [away] all the secrets. The engineers, they all have to [take] a year out before coming back to another team, it’s not the case for a driver. But I still take things a lot. Within limits, I took stuff here, which both teams agreed.” Note that “within limits”.

Quizzed about Mercedes’ new device last week Ocon went into full ‘charm and disarm’ mode. “I designed the whole thing! It was all me,” he joked.

Esteban Ocon, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya
Ocon took information to Renault “within limits”
“I don’t know much about the details, but for sure I think most of the teams on the grid and all the teams I think are either going to look into it and see if we can create the same things.” How much is “much”, you have to wonder.

Furthermore, given the importance of the device, development timescale and the looming budget cap – plus, of course, Mercedes’s burning ambition of dominating every season under F1’s current regulations which expire this year – all indications are that the team allocated more than a single backroom boffin to DAS. Indeed, probably a dedicated DAS project team.

It’s likely Mercedes’ F1 team consulted colleagues at parent company Daimler and/or at MBTech, an engineering consultancy for the automotive, aeronautics and space sectors. (Incidentally, MBTech provides engineering input for the team’s principal partner Ineos, currently developing the Grenadier, a Land Rover Defender-type 4×4 utility vehicle.)

Somehow one cannot imagine a Haas or Williams having access to such resources to develop DAS (or having the funding to pay therefore). While 2021’s restrictive financial regulations will severely reduce the headcount and resources – from simulator testing through CFD and wind tunnel studies to inter-group transfers and consultancy services – required for such projects.

In short, it is doubtful whether DAS would have seen the light of day under 2021’s budget cap, particularly as teams will in future carefully evaluate the chances of such innovations being banned after a single season. Why throw resources at short-term projects when resources are restricted?

There, in a nutshell, lies F1’s future conundrum: After the imposition of budget caps F1’s 70-year tradition of spirited innovation will likely be kicked into touch by increasingly restrictive regulations, thereby destroying a major element of F1’s DNA, one nurtured over a period of 70 years.

Thus, DAS should be savoured not only for what it is, namely the product of some extremely bright minds backed by massive resources, but also for all it signifies: F1’s final stab at innovation before financial regulations erode the pioneering spirit of what was once a highly technical sport. ‘DAS’ is likely to be that definitive article after which comes ‘die’…

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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...

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  • 53 comments on “Why Mercedes could still face a legality fight after reinventing the steering wheel”

    1. I think it’s a very pessimistic point of view. A double crown is to be bagged each year and the millions that come with those, so I don’t see the engineering competition suddenly fade.

      For sure the gaps will (hopefully) be smaller, but while I can appreciate the fine work Mercedes is doing I must say that I’m bored to see it win about everything, and people around me all think F1 is a borefest and a joke.

      Since the 2021 overhaul idea came to live I’m shouting at every past F1 viewers that 2021 will be different. In the meantime the Netflix series did a lot of good publicity to attract new fans, how about showing them a proper competition instead of the same three teams and then a distant F1.5?

      If it’s not working they will change it again or open it up obviously. So I’m not in the scaremongers camp and I’m all for trying it before calling it the death of everything.

      Also, I think the word “DNA” is overused to say “we don’t want to change because we don’t want to change”, which is a nonsense in my opinion.

      1. If it’s not working they will change it again or open it up obviously. So I’m not in the scaremongers camp and I’m all for trying it before calling it the death of everything.

        Also, I think the word “DNA” is overused to say “we don’t want to change because we don’t want to change”, which is a nonsense in my opinion.

        Good comment, could not agree with you more.

        Furthermore the rabid traditionalist reaction to reverse grids last year are the same people who would probably rate Suzuka ’05 as their favourite race, go figure.

        We need to stop holding F1 up in this hallowed rigid format, it’s myopic and does a disservice to the history of the sport littered with crazy innovations, invitational and non championship events and all sorts.

        1. Another case in point, DAS. Imagine if Twitter existed when Brabham rolled out their 6 wheeler for the first time…

          You have people who can barely string a coherent sentence together pretending to have innate knowledge of the technical regulations, in reality just crying due to loyalty to a brand and not a scooby doo what they’re talking about.

          1. Tyrrell…but your point is well made.

            1. Yeah well said. It is ridiculous to suggest DAS is the last stab at innovation in F1. Teams will be innovating all the time and are all doing so as we speak. Just because they will have to now innovate under tighter constraints, because they were excessively greedy and selfish in the past, to the point of making the entity unsustainable, does not mean innovation is gone, whatsoever. Excessive innovation that most of the teams can’t even fathom coming up with, is the concern. That is what has created the imbalance that has been going on for a long time. So what is better, to have a toned down F1 of closer competition, or none at all?

    2. I think the question now is, how good is this system in making the cars faster?

      I doubt Ocon has any information that will prove valuable to the engineers trying to mimic this

      1. I think the question now is, how good is this system in making the cars faster?

        I think the other teams have their doubts, which is why no one has raised an official complaint yet. I’d be surprised if there was a dramatic effect in lap time; I think it’ll be more about tire life over the course of a race.

    3. Regarding DAS I do think it’s going to come down to whether the stewards deem it a suspension or steering device and of course there will be arguments for and against whichever view the stewards take.

      I agree that the knock on effect of the budget cap may be a lack of innovation as innovation costs money and often it costs a lot of money. It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the years to come and whether the 2021 and on onward rules help or hurt the sport. Personally I think it’s all about what happens in 2021, because if a few teams come out significantly faster than the others, the budget cap will likely perpetuate that advantage as it would make it next to impossible for the other teams to close the cap. If that occurs, there may be a need to again revise the rules.

    4. I’m still sceptical about whether DAS is more than a ruse to distract other teams. It might help long run pace and tyre wear, but it’s unlikely to be responsible for Mercedes leading the testing timesheets.

    5. I don’t think DAS is very complicated, and it doesn’t require an establishment the size of NASA or Daimler to conceptualise, simulate and build. At it’s simplest it is like the locus of a connecting rod in a cylinder and and sufficient locks to prevent runaway modes from predefined boundaries.
      The only challenge in retrofitting to an existing car design are the the clearances and perhaps diameter of the steering column required for its containment.

    6. “F1’s final stab at innovation before financial regulations erode the pioneering spirit”

      Are you kidding me? Dieter, you have been shouting from the top of every tower you could climb about how the sport needed proper financial regulation, for years, on this site. Now when you get them, those longed-for regulations are suddenly “[eroding] the pioneering spirit”?

      You can’t have it both ways, sir. If you dislike the directions the sport is taking then say so. Don’t try to slide that opinion in on the sly with pseudo-editorializing.

    7. I don’t think Dieter has been contributing to Racefans ‘for years’

      1. From his bio on this site: “He joined racefans.net as special contributor in 2018.”

    8. If the FIA, F1 and Brawn work together to kill off DAS, they’re effectively turning Formula 1 into NASCAR, the race series where the clock has stopped way back in the last century.

      Who gave Ross Brawn the right to kill off “unwanted innovations”? Could Ross Brawn be Charles Holland Duell reborn?

      1. Fun fact, the idea is apparently a misattribution to Duell. He actually had a strong awareness of the speed of innovation of the coming 20th century.

      2. Jon Bee Ridiculous comment. There is a galaxy of space between DAS and NASCAR. I guess you don’t realize that there is a ton of innovation going on in F1 at all times. It doesn’t hinge on a DAS to make or break F1. What is vital though is that the endless spending on things like extreme innovation that only the most resourced teams can partake in, be kept in check unless F1 is to end soon with only 4 or 5 teams able to afford it.

      3. Yawn

        Chicken Little reaction

    9. I think Ithe fact it is already banned for 2021 means It should have been instantly banned for 2020. there is too many loopholes this is rule breaking, with suspension, aero, driver aids….and also a failure in this push/pull system could be catastrophic.

      1. That’s why it had to be tested to ensure safety – and passed.
        The system makes a lot of sense by maximizing the car’s potential, is fairly simple compared to other innovations, and is (apparently) mechanically operated by the driver, meaning it makes a demand on their physical skill (or endurance) and mental judgement. What’s wrong with any of that?

      2. Um no, that makes zero sense.

        There are many things that are illegal in 2021 rules that are legal in 2020. You gonna ban those too? Cos they include stuff like tire size, aero design and the like.

        If DAS is to.be banned, it would be cos of 2020 rules (which might still happen by the way). 2021 rules should have absolutely nothing to do with it.

      3. Weak and thinly veiled argument for field equalization. Don’t give it the ‘safety’ chat kpcart.

      4. The safety argument is grounds for lots of innovation bans. T-wings were banned in safety because they were so weak they would break off. Of course, the FIA could introduce regulations to make them stronger, but that’s too much for them of course.

        Anyway, these steering wheels are being pushed and pulled already due to g-forces under braking and acceleration.

    10. the distinct impression lingered

      …that rival teams may be desperate to try anything to block a perfectly legal innovation they lacked the nous to dream up themselves.

      1. It’s not “perfectly legal” until the scrutineers have deemed it so.

      2. Or maybe the reason some teams were non-committal about developing such a system is they’ve already built this capability into their car, and that their cars do this automatically without the driver being aware that it is happening.

    11. I do not agree with the author point of view. F1 teams have always faced the ‘innovation v/s money’ challenge.

      The budget cap may just put the teams at nearly the same level in terms of the money issue, so the difference in performance, ideally, should come from the innovation area.

      If I remember well, the coanda effect was first explored by Sauber not by the Mercedes, Redbulls or Ferraris. Then money talks.

      1. jamt, I am fairly sure that Sauber was not the first team to look at that concept, as McLaren turned up to the first test in Jerez with what became known as a Coanda type exhaust.

        In fact, the chassis that McLaren launched in 2012 had the Coanda type exhaust fitted to it – and McLaren launched their car on the 1st Feb 2012, whereas Sauber did not launch their car until the 6th Feb 2012. Sauber was one team that had that concept, but they were one of at least a handful of teams that had a similar idea at the same time – it’s worth noting that a few teams, such as Force India, had their own version of a Coanda exhaust fitted by the time of the second pre-season test, and it seems unlikely that they could have fabricated and fitted their own Coanda exhaust in the 10 day gap between the first and second tests (especially one that looked very similar to McLaren’s system too).

        There have been some who have suggested that the idea of the Coanda exhaust probably came from McLaren first – their design in the early season was the most advanced one and, later in the season, Sauber would ditch their own version to replicate the system that McLaren were using.

        Some have wondered if Sauber might have been tipped off via Pedro de la Rosa because, he was working as McLaren’s test driver in 2011, but he also maintained active links with Sauber in 2011 as well – even temporarily replacing Perez at the Canadian GP that year. There were certainly those who linked Sauber’s rapid adoption of the F-duct system in 2010 to de la Rosa’s knowledge of McLaren’s system, given he was working for McLaren in 2009 before signing a deal to drive for Sauber in 2010.

        1. Wow, this is very insightful information. Thank you very much anon.

        2. Does ‘anon’ stand for Adrian Newey’s Online Name? :)

    12. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
      26th February 2020, 14:32

      I feel like now that we have a budget cap, the regs should be less restrictive. If it’s not something that will affect the cars’ ability to follow each other, and is safe, (and, if you want to add a 3rd option, is within the “DNA” of F1) then it should be allowed. There’s no point banning innovations just because of them being costly. Teams have a certain amount of money to spend, let them decide how to spend it.

      1. +1 My thoughts exactly. It’s the equivalent of hanging someone who’s already faced a firing squad.

          1. But the problem with that is that at least for the next two or three years, perhaps longer, there is still going to be a gulf between the have and the have not teams. Just because a cap will be gradually brought in starting next year, doesn’t mean that suddenly the 5 lesser teams have the same money and resources as the top 5. Rather the bottom 5 are still going to struggle to get anywhere near having the money to spend that the other teams will have, with much to spare.

            1. @robbie: Who are the bottom 5 teams you mention?

              The only true bottom, independent team is Williams.

              Sauber Romeo is Ferrari’s B-team. Perhaps not long term.

              Haas has Ferrari and Dallara R&D providing cost-effective solutions, just delivered a season behind.

              Racing Pink Point is well funded and buying as much Merc tech as budget and rules will allow.

              Is McLaren a bottom 5 team? Not with their resources.

              RBR’s fashion affiliate team will not struggle for money.

              Renault a bottom 5 team? It’s a full factory team.

              There’s only a single bottom team. Williams. They will struggle to get near the cap ceiling.

            2. @jimmi-cynic

              Sounds a bit like Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average. There will always be a bottom five unless F1 has fewer than five teams.

            3. @jimmi-cynic I think it is pretty obvious that there are 5 teams that do have nearly the budgets of 5 other teams in spite of them being junior teams in some cases. Obviously if RBR spent as much money on SAT as they do on themselves that team would be much more competitive. Same with Alfa and Haas. Sure Renault should have deep pockets but it seems not as. And yeah Racing Point is building itself up.

              Bottom line, to say there is only one bottom team in terms of budget put into them, is simply false, as evidenced by the far inferior performance of said B-teams in spite of how much money their A-team parents have. But hey, if your suggestion were correct that the groupings of these teams makes them equivalent just by being under the same umbrella, perhaps the caps should be applied to pairings or ‘families’ of teams then. But is Haas and Alfa Romeo really part of the Ferrari family, or just cousins? SAT is truly junior to their parent. Racing Point is working on it. The reality is there are only half the teams able to still innovate way more than the other half be it from their budgets or their lesser numbers of heads putting thought into and implementing independent innovations, as their cars are not identical.

    13. Do not be fooled. The same was said about the double-diffuser and the F-duct; that it will take months to copy. We all know how that ended up. The DAS is an even easier system to understand and manufacture. I expect DAS copies to be rolling out by the French GP.

      1. It ended up with a down-&-out team bought for a dollar and with a customer engine winning the Championship.

        If you were trying to make a point, it exploded spectacularly in your face.

    14. I don’t really have an issue with the reasoning behind banning this innovation for 2021 (too costly for other teams to develop before the budget cap is in place). Though my preferred solution would have been to provide (open source) the design to all the other teams so they can chose whether or not to implement it next year. It seems like a simple concept that could allow teams to better use their tires and potentially get more performance out of their cars. What’s more of a concern is if within the constraints of a budget cap the FIA is still in the practice of banning innovations that are well within the rules. The teams should be free to spend their budgets however they see fit.

    15. Doesn’t it affect the cars aerodynamics? Making it a movable aerodynamic device?

      1. Just like a steering wheel you mean?

        Yes the driver can steer the wheels with his steering wheel. Either by turning the wheel or with DAS by pulling/pushing the wheel. Still ,all it does is change the direction in which the wheels face.

      2. Yes, Dieter says so in the article:

        However, neutral “toe” reduces frontal area and thus drag on straights as only the forward face is presented to the air

        . To me it’s clearly a movable aerodynamic device, but somehow it’s said to be ‘steering’, just because it is controlled from the steering wheel (even though it’s operated from a button).

    16. Dieter, for the continentals the “complex definitive grammatical articles” is common place, not just German.

    17. If the FIA has allowed teams to change camber, caster and toe while in parc ferme through the years, then DAS will be raced. If this isn’t the case, it’s not going to see the light of day from Melbourne quali onwards.

      1. @theessence Drivers can already turn the wheel direction with the steerign wheel. Why would that now be banned if they can also do this by pulling/pushing the wheel?

        1. That’s easy, @f1osaurus. FIA will simply ban steering. Ban corners. No corners? No problem.

          Liberty will be able to create a swath of new F1 events across the USA. On NHRA-approved tracks. Only need to ‘innovate’ an 8,000 HP 1.6L Hybrid PU that can last 4 seconds.

          The sooner Liberty/FIA legislate innovation out of F1, the sooner we can enjoy horse racing again.

      2. Agreed.

        All of those are settings made to components that suspend the car between the 4 wheels (ie suspension).

        They are setup to adjust the attitude of the car to pitch, roll, yaw and travel … all dynamic forces acting on the car as it accelerates, brakes, turns, goes over bumps, etc.

        Steering components exclusively effect the change in direction of the travel of the wheels relative to the car.

        Drive components transfer power to the wheels.

        Mercedes can try redefine common terms as much as they want, but as long as there is a wider common concensus about what constitudes suspension adjustments, they have no legal leg to stand on.

    18. I’m only surprised at how long it has taken for a team to come up with a solution to the problem of optimising tyre temperature under the varying conditions of each race, as is surely the real purpose of das DAS.

      F1 (Bernie) imposed a gimmick (melty tyres) on the teams to randomise the results (eg.Williams last win), and it should come as no surprise that teams have spent a lot of their resources in efforts to optimise the performance/longevity of these substandard tyres.

      If F1 is to ban the solution to the problem of optimising the performance of these substandard tyres I hope they apply logic and also ban the gimmick of temperature critical substandard tyres.

      These tyres are the main contributor to the lack of close racing, they slow down the pace, reward drivers that avoid interacting with other cars, punish drivers that try to pass cars of similar performance, make track position king, and hugely increase the problem of turbulence, all factors that make F1 less exciting than it was.

    19. It is not that difficult to make self-adjusting toe systems. Even other aspects of geometry can be changed in-flight. Suspension travel (bump steer), steering input (Akerman effect), roll and weight transfer, aero loads and more could be used I am sure.
      Expectation is that there are rules that would prevent the use of an automated or braking G-based system to achieve (automatically) what the DAS does as far as we know it. They could have put a spring on the steering shaft and let the G loads do the job, but to be legal, the driver must steer the car with the steering wheel. Hence the moveable steering column and not a lever on the side or another pedal.
      What mystifies me is that there does not seem to be a consensus for what the system achieves. Yes it affects toe, but is this intended to change ride height (would be a very small change for such a small toe variation), to heat tires, reduce drag, improve turn-in or something else.?
      We may have to wait and see what they do with it and if there is any real or perceived benefit. Could be a box full of small crimson piscis.

      1. @rekibsn, pretty sure it’s 99% about tyre management, toe in/out to heat the rubber, toe neutral to reduce/maintain temperature, the rest just being side benefits.

    20. Reinvented steering wheel should be Stealing a decade old idea from ProDrive.

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