Red Bull principal Christian Horner believes Mercedes’ dual-axis steering system shows why it’s important to close loopholes from 2021.
The new sporting, financial and technical regulations coming for the 2021 season have been designed to restrict the loopholes which teams can find in the regulations to make Formula 1 more cost effective and competitive.
Mercedes left it late to find a new loophole in the current rules when they developed DAS which allows Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to push and pull their steering wheel to adjust the toe of their front wheels, reducing drag down the straights, improving cornering and reducing tyre wear.
But such innovations drive up costs for the teams who chase them, so Horner thinks it’s important that the 2021 regulations allow for such loopholes to be quickly closed.
“I think so, because I think the problem is, if you take DAS for example, it’s an innovative and clever system, there are arguments to and for, you can probably argue it both ways,” he told Racefans.net.
“The consequence of it is that inevitably it will drive costs for the teams that choose to exploit that kind of technology.”
But on the flip side, there is concern that the new rules could discourage teams from developing their cars. Horner doesn’t think this would happen though.
“I think so long as it’s done responsibly, that’s fine,” he said.
“The problem we’ve got is the regulations are quite complex and not particularly transparent in the way that they are written. And of course, it all comes down to interpretation, which is often quite difficult.”
Horner doesn’t agree that the new rules are a threat to innovation in F1 – if a new development is worth it, then teams will ultimately pursue it.
“It depends what performance it yields,” he explained.
“So you may well develop something for even a 12 month period if it has benefit.
“Or whatever period of time you can get away with it. It’s like F-ducts, it’s like double diffusers, it’s like whatever suspension systems that used to be on the car, all those things.
“I think innovation has to be a fundamental part of Formula 1.
“I mean, here we are talking about the DAS system, it’s very clever, some bright engineers have come up with it, and I think innovation is absolutely part of Formula 1.”