Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Mercedes give drivers guidelines on how to use DAS in races

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes’ drivers have been given “guidelines” on how to use their Dual Axis Steering system but it will be down to them to make the best of it, says Valtteri Bottas.

The team have been working on how to get the most out of the system, which is believed to allow Bottas and team mate Lewis Hamilton to adjust the to angle of the front wheels. Bottas said the team were “run by run learning more about it” when they debuted the device last week.

“Between the tests the engineers have had more time to learn from the data and make more of the guidelines for us as drivers, how to best use it, et cetera. Which kind of situations it can bring the advantage, how big the advantage will give us and which tracks – that’s a little bit of a question mark.”

Operating DAS has already begun to feel automatic for Bottas. “It all goes pretty smoothly and it’s nice to feel like everything goes pretty automatically without too much thinking about it, and we’re using it when we think it is best.”

The team has modelled when the driver can use it to best effect, but Bottas said it will be up to him and Hamilton to get the most out of it.

“With all the simulation and simulation tools and all the data for sure we can find ways that we think in theory will be the best,” said Bottas. “But also it will be driver-dependent, especially at the race weekend, the kind of situations we think might get a benefit.

“In the end we’re the only one who can use it. We have some guidelines but it’s up to us to also explore and discover and find the best ways to use it. So it’s a nice little extra tool – not that there weren’t so many things to do anyway on the steering wheel!”

Bottas added he sees “no reason” why they wouldn’t use the device from the first race of the season in Melbourne.

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24 comments on “Mercedes give drivers guidelines on how to use DAS in races”

  1. Bottas added he sees “no reason” why they wouldn’t use the device from the first race of the season in Melbourne.

    There’s still the fundamental issue of whether the Stewards will approve of it. Looking at the comments other fans have recently made, it seems it is legal, if so then it’ll get the stamp of approval, but until then we can’t be sure.

    1. It’s more silver or grey in its legality.

      1. I confirm it’s silver.
        As concern steering guideline, may be; “Turn it left, car goes left, turn right car goes right.”

    2. @drycrust it is true that it will depend on the stewards accepting it, as technically the stewards are not directly part of the FIA.

      That said, if the FIA has already given their approval, it would seem unlikely that the stewards will say otherwise. The stewards are usually trained by the FIA and, in scenarios where they require additional technical assistance, will often seek that guidance from the FIA – I would imagine, therefore, that their viewpoint on the legality of DAS will be influenced by the FIA’s opinion on the device, and the FIA has indicated so far that they accept it as legal.

  2. The only serious question is whether the DAS connection to the wheels is part of suspension. It’s illegal to adjust the suspension after parc ferme, therefore adjusting it during the race is not allowed. If it’s currently illegal to adjust the toe angle after parc ferme, then doing during the race may also be considered illegal, even if the adjustment is made via the steering wheel. But Merc could also challenge that existing rule, claiming that toe angle adjustments are NOT suspension related. The FIA will have their hands full dealing with this one. Stay tuned, Melbourne is only

    1. It’s only connected to the steering and alters the suspension the same way normal steering would. So it shouldn’t be illegal, since it doesn’t modify the suspension directly.

      1. Well, it does directly affect the toe settings without changing the direction of the car, that doesn’t seem like a definition of a steering device to me. Affecting toe while steering the car is normal, but just affecting toe on it’s own and calling that “steering” seem like a stretch of the definition to me.

        1. The toe and camber are part of the wheel alignment. In the Formula One Technical Regulations the meaning of “sprung suspension” doesn’t include any mention of the steering system or the wheel alignment.

          1. In fact wheel alignment and toe angles aren’t included in the technical sheet sent to the stewards

    2. That’s my take also. If there is no rule against manually controlled variable-steering geometry, then it’s legal. But my guess is that there are a ton of things you CAN’T do with the steering, and DAS is very close to one of those things.

    3. That’s not even a serious question. As the 2020 regs are written, if DAS is illegal, then so is every other car with a steering wheel.

    4. Once the race starts, cars are no longer under parc ferme rules.

      1. So would it be possible to change rear wing adjustment during pit stops?

        1. Yes, but would the 20-30 seconds be made back in race time? No.

          Front wings are adjusted in pit stops via the small thumb screws/preset electric guns that are basically screwdrivers.

  3. Toe in on the brakes after a long straight and in the corners. Toe out(zero toe actually) on a long straight except for when behind the safety car. Toe in after a pit stop for quicker warm up. Toe in at the start to increase temp for the first corner.

    1. @megatron, that’s how I see it too. Wonder if Merc will have any planned 2 stop races this season.

      1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
        28th February 2020, 2:55

        It is triggered by a button and then adjusts between its two positions without the driver physically pulling and pushing on the wheel. It was noticeable that it was only occasionally being used and the likelihood is that it will bring greater benefits on tracks with longer straights than this. Although it’s been cleared legal by the FIA for this year, it’s been banned in advance from ’21.

        Mark Hughes, in his latest column suggests that the steering need not be physically manipulated for DAS to be activated, rather suggesting it was triggered by a button. In this case, wouldn’t it be illegal considering it is an electronic aid of sorts?

        1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
          28th February 2020, 2:56

          Drat, this was meant to be an individual comment guys

    2. More likely they use toe-out at the front on race cars, not toe in. Toe-in results in a “positive feedback loop” making the car very twitchy and nervous. Here is how. When you initiate a turn the weight of the car rolls over onto the outside tires. With toe-in that outside tire will be pointing into the corner so the car will naturally want to turn in even more. That causes more weight on the outside tire and so on. So the slightest touch of steering input will have a very big consequence on initial turn-in, that is an unstable car. Especially under braking when even more of the cars weight is on the front axle. With toe-out the effect is the opposite, the weight will roll onto an outside tire that is slightly pointing away from the corner causing the weight to roll back center again. Its basically a self-righting mechanism that will keep the car stable unless the driver purposely puts in more steering.

      1. “More likely they use toe-out at the front on race cars” – toe-out on the front is logical thing because of the camber angle they use.

    3. Toe-out is the standard setting on the fronts. Toe-neutral would be what they have on the straights.

  4. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    28th February 2020, 2:58

    It is triggered by a button and then adjusts between its two positions without the driver physically pulling and pushing on the wheel. It was noticeable that it was only occasionally being used and the likelihood is that it will bring greater benefits on tracks with longer straights than this. Although it’s been cleared legal by the FIA for this year, it’s been banned in advance from ’21.

    Mark Hughes, in his latest column suggests that the steering need not be physically manipulated for DAS to be activated, rather suggesting it was triggered by a button. In this case, wouldn’t it be illegal considering it is an electronic aid?

    https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/articles/single-seaters/f1/mph-why-red-bull-and-ferrari-are-closer-to-mercedes-than-f1-testing-suggests

    1. That must be a typo of some sort, or just a bad explanation or choice of words. He even explains the push-pull or sliding of steering wheel in the very sentence before your quote.

      If the system was button-activated it would be illegal by the current rules. The important definition from the rules is that if you fix the steering wheel in position, the wheel angles should only be able to alter via geometry changes from suspension travel. If the press of a button altered toe angle that would brake that rule.

  5. I think it’s a amazing solution to the rules, that’s why guid line’s and technical briefings are put in place, to see who builds the quickest car from the rules stated, Mercedes Benz with the help of Lewis Hamilton wich people forget without him and his information he feeds the team , i seriously doubt they would of achieved what they have and don’t underestimate nikki lauder total genius of a man rip nl

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