Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020

No link between Mercedes’ DAS and tyre failures, says Wolff

2020 British Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the tyre failures which occured on Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’s cars yesterday are not linked to the team’s unique Dual Axis Steering system.

DAS allows the Mercedes drivers to adjust the toe angle of their front wheels while the car is moving. No other team has a similar system on their cars.

However Mercedes were not the only team which experienced punctures at the end of yesterday’s race. Carlos Sainz Jnr also suffered a front-left tyre failure on his McLaren.

“I don’t think that DAS had an influence because we saw the puncture on Sainz’s car as well at the same place,” said Wolff in response to a question from RaceFans.

“The front-left takes the most heavy loads on that track. And we saw blistering on many cars from actually the middle of the stint on the hard. So no relation to DAS.”

Pirelli, the sport’s official tyre supplier, and the FIA are investigating the cause of the punctures which struck at the end of yesterday’s race.

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The Mercedes drivers, along with many of their rivals, ran long second stints on the hard tyres during the race. Wolff does not believe they took a risk by doing so, and suggested the failures may have been caused by debris following Kimi Raikkonen’s front wing failure which occured shortly beforehand.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020
Hamilton and Bottas had front-left punctures
“Pirelli is always very diligent in pointing out and very transparent in pointing out that there could be problems, and it was clear from the beginning there with this generation of cars and the amount of downforce in Silverstone that there could be blistering on the tyre,” said Wolff. “We saw those from the junior formulas. But it’s a very difficult job to produce tyres for cars that generate so much downforce.

“Doing these laps with with the hard was not something which was completely unusual. So we didn’t take any risks.

“But I wouldn’t want to draw any conclusions now to what the reason for the failures was, because as I said before, there was so much debris out on track, looking at Raikkonen on the track at the end. Like with any tyre, if the tyre is worn down any debris will get through through the carcass easier.

“So I think we need to wait for Pirelli’s analysis, and I’m sure they are going to take the right decisions.”

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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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11 comments on “No link between Mercedes’ DAS and tyre failures, says Wolff”

  1. There were big blisters on the right front tyre despite the left front taking the heaviest loads.

    1. well spotted, probably why dual active suspension is so good. they were putting the biggest load on the tyre but they were in the best position to extract the performance out of it. some cars didn’t mark up the tyres at all, so I guess merc could have just eased up the pace. in the end they rid themsel
      ves of the bottas headache.

  2. If anything DAS should have prevented this…

    1. How so @stephenH? I’m curious.

      1. Changing the toe angle to get less friction and increase speed on the straights would preserve the tyre. Assuming that’s what they would do

        1. Except that it works the other way, the DAS adds toe on the straights to maintain front tyre temperature for the next corner…

          Nothing to do with DAS? Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

          1. @frasier DAS changes the wheels from toe-out to slight toe-in, which is reducing the toe angle.

            From previous rounds, it has become clear that DAS is only used to warm the tyres for flying laps in quali and, when necessary, during safety car periods.

            There is no reason to suspect DAS other than the coincidence of both Mercedes suffering punctures. Sainz got a puncture without DAS and Verstappen may have too, were it not for his pit stop.

          2. @gardenfella72 that may well be a correct reflection of what the system is doing to toe angle, but the underlying purpose is to keep tyre temperatures higher. Remember the IR cameras that showed us tyre temperature drop on the straights, that’s what it’s all about, stopping that happening. Also from quali to race they not allowed to touch the car set-up… When the tyre rubber gauge drops through wear, do they use DAS to compaensate?

            If you have a source from Mercedes explaining how it works in detail, and when they use it, then I’ll bow to superior knowledge, but I rather doubt they would talk in any detail about a competitive advantage.

          3. @frasier the purpose of warming the tyres using DAS is to keep them in the operating window, therefore minimising the extra wear experienced on cold tyres due to higher slip angles.

          4. @frasier as gardenfella notes, other teams also encountered problems with the front tyres failing (Sainz) or were close to failure (Verstappen), with Pirelli also acknowledging that several cars had tyres that were quite marginal with wear.

            Furthermore, we have had two races in recent years – 2013 and 2017 – where teams saw front left tyre failures which involved the carcass of the tyres failing. Now, although the tyre design has evolved somewhat since then, the fact that we’ve seen tyres failing in a similar fashion to previous years does seem to point more towards it being a characteristic of the tyre design and the nature of the circuit.

  3. Except very few no one thought about this.

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