The FIA confirmed that Mercedes’ innovative steering system introduced on day 2 of pre-season testing will be outlawed in 2021.
Mercedes’ new Dual Axis Steering system (or DAS for short) was introduced yesterday during the morning testing session and it immediately raised a lot of questions. The obvious one was its legality and, although the FIA declared the system can be legally used in 2020, it will be outlawed from 2021 onward.
According to 2021 technical regulations published last year, changes to the angle of the wheels can only be made by the steering wheel rotating in a defined way. Or as it was put in Article 10.5 of the regs: “The re-alignment of the steered wheels, as defined by the position of the inboard attachment of the relevant suspensions members that remain a fixed distance from each other, must be uniquely defined by a monotonic function of the rotational position of a single steering wheel.”
Other teams that want to develop a similar system are allowed to do so for 2020, however Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer says it will take other teams at least six month to copy the system.
“The DAS is not so easy to copy,” said Szafnauer.
“Even a big team with huge resource like Ferrari and Red Bull, will take six month to copy it. You would have to completely rework out the front area of the car and maybe also change the chassis.”
However he believes the teams will definitely try to adopt a similar device, despite not being able to use it beyond 2020.
“It looks like a clever bit of ingenuity. I’m sure that everyone will now see how quickly they can get it on [their cars].
“Do you remember the McLaren F-duct? Same thing. They came out with it, and everyone else tried to copy it. By the end of the year I think we all had it. Similar to the double diffuser.
“Even in a year like this, if it makes a big difference we should do it. Depending on the effort and the benefit.
“If it is a huge effort for little benefit probably not because of limited resources, but if it is a small effort for a big benefit, then probably yes.”