Vettel doubts unique Mercedes DAS is a game changer

Ruben Fields
February 21, 2020

Mercedes brought intrigue to Formula One testing on Thursday with television images showing Lewis Hamilton moving his car's steering wheel forwards and backwards as he drove.

"We would shed a great deal of more light than what you see on the TV, but we have a system in the cars, a novel idea", Allison said.

"It introduces an extra dimension to the steering for the driver that we hope will be useful throughout the year".

He added: "I'm pleased we got it on the auto, it seems to be useful, and we'll see over the coming days how it benefits us".

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel doubts that Mercedes' innovative dual axis steering system has the potential to provide a significant edge, insisting the device is likely also hard to operate.

Asked why he felt the forward and backward movement of the steering wheel could create issues, he added: "If you are used to running with running shoes and then you are asked to run with your flip flops, you can do that but it feels very different".

However, a toe-out setup is not ideal on the straights as, when combined with the camber (the angle the tyre points inwards when viewed from the front), it generates excessive heat and potential blistering on the inside shoulder of the tyre. Such a change could reduce drag but could also help keep tire temperatures up in order to have better grip at the next corner, and Vettel said the (system) quickly caught his and Ferrari's eye.

"This isn't news to the FIA".

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"The rules are pretty clear about what's permitted on steering systems and we're pretty confident that it matches those requirements", Allison said.

"I've only had one morning on [it, so] I don't really have a lot to talk about with it".

"We're trying to understand it. Safety-wise, there was no problems today".

"For me, it's encouraging that the team is innovating and staying ahead of the game".

"I think there's a lot more elements to building up a competitive vehicle, but for sure it's an innovation, and we will see whether it's something that everyone has to pick up on or not".

"If you actively change the toe of the wheels while driving, the contact surface of the tyres changes and with that - albeit in a very, very small area - the ground clearance".

"One of the things that gives me massive pride from working at Mercedes is to be part of a team that doesn't just turn the sausage (machine) handle each year". "This is fun but its only the tip of an iceberg of similar stuff that's written across the vehicle".

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