Mercedes "pretty confident" controversial steering system is legal


Though the season is barely 12 hours old, there is already murmuring over the legality of an innovation that could cause problems further down the line.

During this morning's coverage of testing in Barcelona, on-board coverage of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes indicated that the German team was running a new device which within minutes was dominating talk on social media, team motorhomes and the media.

During a planned press conference during the lunch-break, attended by Mercedes technical director, James Allison and Lewis Hamilton, it came as no surprise when the subject was raised.

"We have a system in the car, it's a novel idea," explained Allison. "We've got a name for it. It's called DAS, if you're interested," he continued, later revealing that this stands for Dual Axis Steering.

"It just introduces an extra dimension to the steering, to the driver, that we hope will be useful during the year," he continued. "Precisely how we use it, when and why we use it, that's something we'll keep to ourselves.

This isn't news to the FIA," he insisted, "it's something that we've been talking to them about for some time. The rules are pretty clear about what's permitted on steering systems, and we're pretty confident that it matches all of these requirements.

"Each of the new cars we bring to the track are just festooned with innovation," said Allison. "It's just they're not as obvious to you as a discreet standalone system like this where you can see it with your own eyes.

"One of the things that gave me massive pride is to be part of a team that doesn't just turn the sausage handle each year, that is looking each year at how we can learn fast enough to bring all these innovations to the track and make them stick.

"This is fun, but it's only the tip of an iceberg of similar stuff that's across the car."

"I've only had one morning on it, so I don't really have a lot to talk about with it," added Hamilton. "We're trying to get on top of it, understand it, but safety wise no problem today and the FIA are okay with the project.

"For me it's really encouraging to see that my team continues to innovate and stay ahead of the game," he added. "I think it's down to the great minds working within this team."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Barcelona, here.


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Published: 20/02/2020
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