Austrian GP stewards rule Mercedes’ innovation is a part of the steering system and not a suspension device; Rival teams now free to develop and introduce same idea on their cars in 2020
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 04/07/20 6:51am
Mercedes’ Dual-Axis Steering system has been declared legal by Austrian GP stewards after a protest by Red Bull was rejected.
In a verdict delivered early on Saturday morning in Austria by the FIA, stewards at F1’s season-opening race ruled that “DAS is part of the steering system, albeit not a conventional one”.
Red Bull had alleged that the system was part of the suspension and contravened two of F1’s technical regulations.
In a detailed explanation of their findings after analysis of the system on Mercedes’ W11 car, stewards concluded that the “DAS system is not part of the suspension, nor can it be considered to illegitimately adjust the suspension.
“Therefore the Stewards consider DAS to be a legitimate part of the steering system and hence to satisfy the relevant regulations regarding suspension or aerodynamic influence.”
Mercedes had been confident the innovative system – which allows Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to move the W11’s steering wheel forward and backwards to alter the toe angle of the front wheels – was legal after holding discussions with the FIA during development of the concept.
Red Bull had planned a protest the device at the Australian GP in March before the event was cancelled and, speaking to Sky F1 as the sport’s season finally began in Austria on Friday, team boss Christian Horner said they still wanted to seek clarification on its legality through the formal channels.
The FIA’s decision means Red Bull and other rival teams now must decide whether to pursue the development themselves for this season.
Horner hinted in his Sky interview that Red Bull could do so on their RB16.
“It depends what it actually does and achieves,” said Horner during Practice One. “Everything has to earn its place on the car. Obviously it’s a clever system, it’s an ingenious system but obviously these rules are so complex. It’s just understanding what part of the regulations it fits.”
DAS is already outlawed in the regulations from 2021, so any development path would be just for this season.
The Formula 1 season begins on Friday on Sky Sports F1 with the Austrian GP. Sunday’s race starts at 2.10pm. Find out more & subscribe.