Mercedes technical director James Allison has given new insight into how the team consulted with the FIA on the design of its innovative Dual Axis Steering system.
Speaking in a video published by Mercedes, Allison described how the team originally designed the device last year. The first version of DAS used a lever on the wheel as the driver’s input, which the FIA didn’t like.
“We first wanted to introduce this in 2019,” said Allison. “We took our ideas to the FIA, showed them, explained why we thought it was legal.
“They begrudgingly agreed the dual axis steering was actually legal. But they didn’t much like the way we’d done it because the second axis we were getting from a lever on the wheel rather than that whole wheel movement. They said ‘no, you’re going to have to move the whole wheel in and out’.
“I think when they said that, they were hoping that would be too difficult and that we would go and cause them no more problems.”
Allison credited the team’s chief designer John Owen with solving the problem of adding DAS to the car.
“He’s got a really, really good gut feel for whether something is do-able or not. And that’s a really helpful characteristic because it allows us to be quite brave spending money when most people would feel the outcome was quite uncertain. But John has a good feel for whether he’s going to be able to get out of out of the woods and into into fair ground again.
“So John took that challenge on, reckoned he could do it, put it out to our very talented group of mechanical designers and between them they cooked up two or three ways in which it might be done. We picked the most likely of those three and about a year after that, out popped the DAS system that you saw at the beginning of this season.”
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