Mercedes W11 in its new 'end racism' livery, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Red Bull requests “clarification” from FIA over Mercedes’ DAS

2020 F1 season

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Red Bull has asked the FIA to clarify the legality of Mercedes’ controversial Dual Axis Steering system.

Mercedes has confirmed it is running DAS, which allows its drivers to adjust the toe angle of their front wheels, on their cars this weekend. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas operate their version of DAS by sliding the steering wheel back and forth on the W11.

Horner told Sky Red Bull have requested a “clarification” and “raised some questions” over it with the FIA.

Asked whether Red Bull could consider introducing their own version of DAS on the RB16 this year, Horner said: “It depends what it actually does and achieves”

“Everything has to earn its place on the car,” he said. “It’s a clever system, it’s an ingenious system. But these rules are so complex it’s just understanding which part of the regulations it fits.”

Ferrari had considered introducing a similar system to DAS but decided against proceeding with it, partly due to doubts over its legality. Mercedes decided to introduce the device following discussions with the FIA which led them to change the mechanism which operates it.

The FIA has already confirmed DAS will not be allowed on cars next year.

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2020 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Red Bull requests “clarification” from FIA over Mercedes’ DAS”

  1. And it begins……………..

  2. Protest Ferrari, protest Mercedes… RBR plan was quite obvious from the beginning… and Ferrari are helping the FIA with regard to PU monitoring. TDs have been already issued by the FIA, it is thought to close loopholes exploited by RBR/Mercedes.
    Everyone is protesting everyone and the season hasn’t started yet.

    1. Doesn’t sound to me like they’re protesting DAS. And yeah I seem to recall this was what they were going to do in Australia…request clarification. They have questions and want those clarified. I sure don’t have a sense that DAS is illegal for this year nor that RBR thinks it is illegal…it has been allowed. But if they previously thought it was illegal based on a certain rule’s wording, and yet Merc will indeed be running it with FIA’s blessing, then RBR just want to know where in the wording they (RBR) have been wrong in their interpretation.

      1. From the way Horner was talking if it gets the green light RB are ready with their own DAS.

        1. They already have DAS…Dutch Actually Steering!

        2. But interestingly Horner also said “it depends what it actually does and achieves”, it would seem that they are not really sure what DAS does.

      2. ColdFly (@)
        3rd July 2020, 12:07

        I sure don’t have a sense that DAS is illegal for this year nor that RBR thinks it is illegal…it has been allowed.

        FIA already confirmed daß das DAS is not illegal, @Robbie.
        But I strongly suspect that the use during parc ferme (quali to race start) will be ruled illegal. You are not allowed to change suspension settings during that period, and toe has been included in the suspension setting datasheet as collected by FIA.

        1. you’re not allowed to change the suspension, but you are allowed to turn the front wheels with the steering wheel which is what they’re doing. Nothing says you have to turn both wheels in the same direction at the same time.

          1. ColdFly (@)
            3rd July 2020, 12:38

            You focus only on the steering (changing wheel direction) functionality of DAS. All agree that that is not a problem.
            ‘Toe’ though is considered a formal setting of the suspension (according to the FIA suspension setup datasheet).
            Thus changing ‘toe’, be it with a screwdriver or through turning the wheel, is (probably) illegal according to parc fermé rules.

          2. toe is an adjustment in the suspension parts, not the steering parts.

        2. @coldfly “‘Toe’ though is considered a formal setting of the suspension” I think Merc are playing the grey area card.

          1. it’s grey area for sure, but they are not adjusting any suspension parts, just the steering parts. In other words, the tow adjustment on the suspension is set and fixed before qualifying, then there is nothing saying the steering system has to turn the wheels together, just that the steering system can only control 2 wheels with no other restriction on how it controls those two wheels.


      3. @robbie @coldfly Interesting to read your interpretation of what Horner said. It seemed we all heard the same word but not the same meaning. For my part, I took it as RBR is not sure they completely figured out Mercedes system and how it’s working without breaking the rule. RBR has their own idea but it might be on the edge of regulation hence the request for clarification.

        If I remember correctly, he praised Mercedes a few times and didn’t say specifically that they were challenging Mercedes legality, more asking clarification. The first one would point that they have identified how Mercedes system is working and they think it breaks the rule, while the other sounds more like “can we use our own”.

        To answer coldfly, I don’t think it can be considered as a suspension setup change under parc fermé. That would be like saying adding more fuel modify the ride height and is a suspension setup change, which it’s not. But I guess it’s more about defining what is a “setup change” and what is not. The way Mercedes introduced it, they had some exchanges with the FIA before running it and that would be surprising if this point wasn’t raised or noticed.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          3rd July 2020, 14:02

          didn’t say specifically that they were challenging Mercedes legality, more asking clarification.

          In his cautious wording it means exactly the same IMO, @jeanrien.
          And (again reading between the lines) it seems RBR is ready to go with DAS. But they prefer to clarify it first (rule it legal) before spending time on installing, testing, calibrating, etc. it.

          I don’t think it can be considered as a suspension setup change under parc fermé.

          I agree that ‘toe’ is not part of suspension if defined as ‘ride height management of the car’. But FIA uses an official ‘suspension setup sheet’ which all teams have to submit before entering into parc fermé. ‘Toe’ is included in this sheet, which makes me conclude that FIA does include ‘toe’ as part of the suspension settings (which according to the rules cannot be changed during parc fermé).

        2. “It depends what it actually does and achieves”

          This quote is quite interesting to me, because I thought it was relatively common knowledge what the DAS system achieves – it allows the driver to adjust the toe angle of the front wheels while the car is being driven. Maybe Horner is implying that there are other effects that are not so obvious, but which may be outside the regulations. I’ve no idea what these might be but this was kind of what I interpret from this quote. Or it could be that there is just a dispute, or clarification required, on the technical definitions and terms involved that could be argued on either side – such as whether you are changing the ‘suspension’ of the car or not as others mentioned here.

          1. @keithedin and foggy I would think what Horner means is that he doesn’t know what it will do in terms of reducing laps times and by how much, or in terms of changing tire wear and by how much. I’m sure he knows exactly how Mercedes’ system works and what it does…just doesn’t know how to quantify yet how significant it’s effect will be and thus whether they should pursue it for this one semi-season.

  3. Go MERCEDES!!

  4. DAllein (@)
    3rd July 2020, 12:08

    No harm in asking I would say.

    Let’s see if we know what has been asked and replied afterwards.

  5. Perfect timing. If it’s going to be illegal next year why not this year.

    1. Nik (@nickelodeon81)
      3rd July 2020, 13:41

      Because the rules for this year don’t explicitly state it’s illegal. They can’t change the rules mid season unless there is a critical safety issue. So they must wait till next year when the rules are clear (and have been changed to reflect that).

  6. Jockey Ewing
    3rd July 2020, 12:48

    If I were them, and DAS would be super effective, I won’t reveal it’s full power at first races, just very incrementally to play safe and not get it banned before some points margin is built. Imo if using it is still allowed, then they can use it to have more comfortable races, save tyres more effectively than the others. If it’s really good then they can do almost all races with a one stop strategy, and today’s quite strategy based F1 and quite hard tyres, it’s not really worthy to do many stops, because it’s hard to get the position back, drivers are warned about everything like DRS windows, and pit strategies are much more calculated than previously. So imo if they won’t be forced by opponents they won’t use their performance reserves and won’t try to lap almost everyone. But of course a good car is still a good car without the ability to set toe on the fly. Sadly I probably will have other things to do while the first GP, but hopefully not.

  7. Horner is a clever tactician, I’m sure he’s just casting doubt on the Mercedes car so if red bull don’t win, he can casually mention DAS instead of his own teams failings, especially since it’s their home track.

    1. He would probably say in a post race interview ‘it’s not for me to judge if it’s legal or not, that’s the FIA’s job, but it would be nice to get some clarification on what It does to see if it’s an avenue worth exploring for red bull.

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