FIA thought they made DAS too difficult for Mercedes

Date published: June 3 2020

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes

Mercedes technical boss, James Allison, has spoken about how the DAS system came to fruition and how the FIA thought they had made it too difficult to implement.

The Silver Arrows trialled the innovative dual-axis steering system in pre-season testing at Barcelona and were intending to use it in the original season opener in Australia.

Questions over the legality of the system were immediately raised, but Mercedes were given the all-clear from a legal standpoint once they went away and amended the design – something the FIA wasn’t necessarily expecting them to do.

“The simple answer is it was really quite difficult indeed [to implement],” Allison said in a fan Q and A session on Mercedes’ YouTube channel.

“And in fact we first wanted to introduce this in 2019.

“We took our ideas to the FIA, showed them, explained why we thought it was legal. And they begrudgingly agreed that dual-axis steering was actually legal.

“But they didn’t much like the way we’d done it, because the second axis we were getting from a lever on the wheel, rather than that whole wheel movement.

“And so they said, ‘No, you’re going to have to move the whole wheel in and out.’ And I think when they said that they were hoping that would be too difficult, and we would go away and cause them no more problems.

“But we have a very inventive chief designer, John Owen, and he took one look at that challenge, he’s got a really good gut feel for whether something is doable or not, and that’s a really helpful characteristic, because it allows us to be quite brave spending money when most people would feel the outcome was quite uncertain.

“John has a good feel for whether he’s going to be able to get out of the woods, and into fair ground again.

“John took that challenge on, reckoned he could do it, put it out to our very talented group of mechanical designers, and between them they cooked up two or three ways in which it might be done.

“We picked the most likely of those three, and about a year after that out popped the DAS system that you saw at the beginning of this season.”

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