Esteban Ocon has sworn he had no knowledge whatsoever of Mercedes’ plans to introduce a dual-axis steering system to Formula 1.
After losing his seat with Force India/Racing Point, Ocon returned to the Mercedes set-up in 2019 as a reserve and development driver and spent plenty of time in the Silver Arrows garage on race weekends.
He only emerged as an option for Renault in 2020 later in the 2019 season, which has led Ocon to think that Mercedes may have made a late call to press ahead with the DAS system. He also cannot rule out that Mercedes simply chose not to tell him.
“I swear I didn’t know about it,” Ocon told French broadcaster Canal Plus.
“Either they were very, very smart and didn’t show me the effect of the system, or they came up late and designed it when I was gone, when I was stuck between Renault and Mercedes.
“After the end of the season I was no longer welcome in the factory and I was no longer allowed to work in the simulator.
“Either they did it then or they were very smart but it is likely that they came up with this system at the end of the year.
“Without doubt, they would have tested it in a simulator first.”
Mercedes were planning to use the system in the season opener at the Australian Grand Prix, which would have prompted Red Bull to launch an official protest with the FIA.
A case, like many in Formula 1, which has a ‘to be continued’ tag on it.