Mercedes confirms the team used their innovative Dual Axis Steering system “more than ever” during the Eifel Grand Prix weekend. The system allows drivers to adjust the car’s front wheel toe angle by pushing and pulling on the steering wheel.
Although Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff recently said the system wasn’t “a game changer”, Mercedes’ Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles says it did play a part in Hamilton’s getaway from Max Verstappen after the safety car period.
“It is fair to say we used DAS more than ever this weekend,” said Vowles in Mercedes’ race debrief.
“In free practice, on single lap work, in qualifying but also during the race. In terms of where we used it in the race it was on the formation lap, but also when we were behind the Safety Car.
“Where we had a number of laps circulating on tyres that were just getting colder and colder. I think it is fair to say DAS was a contributing factor to why our restart was so good and really came into its own this weekend.”
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However during the race Hamilton could be heard asking about a different kind of steering wheel movement. The Briton felt the movement on Saturday, but the team wasn’t able to fix the issue under parc ferme conditions.
“You may have heard Lewis complaining about movement within the steering wheel,” Vowles continues.
“He had play within the steering column and the whole steering system was moving backwards and forwards just a small amount.
“This is a performance factor, as you are cornering you are trying to feel the limit of tyres, having any movement in the steering column whatsoever will cause you to not be sure whether it’s the car moving, the tyres moving or something else.
“However, it wasn’t a safety concern; at no time did we have any concern whatsoever for the system.
“It’s something we noticed on Saturday but the parc ferme regulations state that unless the component is broken you can’t replace it, which is why Lewis had to race with it, and he did a great job considering the amount of difficult conditions we had in that race.”