F1 - Mercedes DAS System

Any F1 fans see Merc’s new dual-axis steering system in action at testing in Spain?


The way I grip the wheel in simracing, I feel like I’d be activating this accidentally all the time. I don’t think we’ll see a dramatic impact on lap times for Merc, but maybe an extra lap or two of tire life under extreme conditions. IF (big if…) the design doesn’t get outlawed before Melbourne.

I haven’t actually seen the footage, but I guess there must be a lock, either electronic or mechanical that prevents accidental activation.

I have read an article that teams could still protest during the season. This system is banned from next season. I’m worried that F1 is heading towards such tightly controlled regulations that there is no room for innovation like this and all the cars will become rather generic looking.

Concerned about this as well; the 2021 refresh brings so many regulated parts. I guess it’ll be good for teams’ balance sheets, but F1 isn’t an accounting competition! If we’re not careful we’ll end up with another Indycar series that’s just 10-14 seconds quicker.

I wonder what would happen if financial caps were enforced, but the technical rules were reduced to only specify safety items and a prescribed amount of hydrocarbon fuel?

I think that the ever decreasing box around the car where bodywork cannot go outside of is very restrictive. I’m not sure fully opening up the regulations will work, especially for the smaller teams.

I thought the news here said that the others could possibly implement it during this season, it is currently not illegal, but it will be banned by the FIA for 2021.

I believe the whole point is just to reduce tyre wear. For optimal cornering performance, you need a pretty big toe-out set-up, but this scrubs the tyres on the straight. The Three Pronged Sepository system helps reduce the scrubbing on the straight, whilst keeping the cornering ability.

We had this in the 60s with variable wings (Lotus, I think, had a system that flattened the wing for high speed on the straights, when they braked, the wing flipped up to increase the downforce in the corner), 80s with Venturis and skirts with active fans to increase downforce. There have also been various other innovations that provided too much of an advantage or lowered the excitement, because they could no longer overtake.

Then there were the constant motor changes (1.5L, 3L, 1.5L turbo etc.) and banning different tyre manufacturers. The last was always teh one that got me the most.

Different tyres have really different properties and cars are designed around them. When the manufacturers were thrown out and only one tyre type was allowed, you saw which teams had already used them, because all the other teams were shredding their tyres mid-race.

I used to ride motorbikes and I loved Bridgestones, because they matched my riding style. Dunlops and Avons had a lot more slip and you could really slide the tail out, but were “loose”. Michelins, for example, gripped much longer, so you could hold a higher corner speed, but once you reached the limit, they suddenly gave way in a big, uncontrollable manner that could be dangerous. The Bridgestones were better, they progressively slid, I could slide the rear tyre through a corner, but I could “feel” it and hold it at the optimal point.

There were definitely some crazy cars in the 1970s and 1980s, like the six-wheeled cars, the fan car etc.

Than fan car, and I think some cars that had extreme ground-effects causing suspension failure is, I think, the reason the FIA or whoever sets the regulations started tightening aero rules.

I think it’s quite an interesting development, there have been a number of things like this over the years where teams have tried to sneak something in to give them an advantage - remember the F duct where the driver changed the aerodynamic by covering a hole with their hand?

That was a really neat one!

One of my favorites was McLaren’s second rear brake pedal. Only discovered when a cunning photog got close enough to a car and held his camera down in the footwell.