Over the past 70 years, Formula 1 has been a hot bed for cheeky innovations. We have seen everything from six-wheeled cars to ugly aerodynamic kits to teams flat out cheating for a competitive edge on the grid.
On the eve of the start of the updated 2020 season, defending champions Mercedes F1 have found themselves at the center of a complaint filed by fellow competitors Aston-Martin Red Bull Racing.
Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Boss, announced on July 3 that his team would be seeking legal clarification as to whether or not the car abides by the FIA regulations. Horner is citing article 3.8 of the rulebook, which refers to aerodynamic influence and article 10.2.3, which states “no adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion.”
An earlier report by F1 outlines that the DAS system works by “pushing and pulling on the steering wheel, the action affecting a change on the car’s front wheel toe angle.”
While still unsure of the actual benefit to the car, it appears to allow the tires to be heated more evenly on the straights. This benefits the car with better grip and less tire wear while still allowing the best possible stability on corner entries.
The stewards will now have until the start of FP3 on Saturday to make their decision on the DAS system’s legality.
Should the system be OK’d, then Mercedes will most likely continue to use it. Other teams on the grid will be force to adapt and possibly create their own variants to keep them competitive, as Red Bull has already announced they are developing their own version. If the system is deemed illegal, it will be banned immediately and Mercedes will be forced to remove it.
Mercedes Tech Director James Allison insists the DAS system is legal as his team has read the rules, telling F1 back in February “The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems and we’re pretty confident that it matches those requirements.”
This decision will only be valid for the 2020 season, as the FIA did vote to ban the system for 2021 onwards.
As the world gets set for the long-awaited return of F1 this Sunday in Austria, add one more piece of drama left to be settled before the grid lights go out.