In 2020 Mercedes introduced the revolutionary Dual Axis Steering System that allows drivers to adjust the toe angle of the front wheels.
This is done by pulling and pushing on the steering wheel. While this was supposed to help with tyre wear, Mercedes Technical Director James Allison says the team wasn’t able to unlock its full potential.
“I’d say it’s been probably most of what we hoped for,” the Briton told The Race.
“We had hoped we would be able to use it more over the course of an event from old tyres to new, that the drivers would find corners where it was just easier to nip around the corner with a little tweak of DAS because it does change the steer response.
“But it proved not very easy for them to use as a thing that they could genuinely push and pull while ‘left and righting’.
“Maybe in a full season when we weren’t so COVID-distracted and we might have had more chance to develop and test, then we perhaps could have got the fine control of it better established rather than what we ended up being limited to – which was the first iteration, a relatively crude lock-to-lock type of control.
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“But nevertheless, that aspect of it was very useful in giving us the ability to get some heat into the tyres on out-laps and allow the front to wake up nicely for a qualifying lap and similarly after Safety Cars.
“So we got a chunk of what it can offer but not everything.”
Since the FIA has already banned such a system for 2021, the technology looks to remain undeveloped.
“It’s a shame that it’s all banned for next year but I understand,” continued Allison.
“In fact, we were a resigned, but not furious, contributor to getting it taken away next year because we understand forcing everyone else to develop a system like that – because it is beneficial – would probably have been self-defeating.
“And we did have the benefit for a season, which made the investment and effort worthwhile.”