The Origins of Mercedes F1s DAS System

Formula One 2020 Testing proved to be devasting for nine of ten teams, with Mercedes F1 AMG-Petronas coming out as the dominating force. This followed after they revealed the Dual-Axis Steering System, which quickly became a controversial subject amongst the grid. Teams believed that it provided drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas with a significant advantage over their competitors.

When the Formula International Association approved these innovative features, multiple teams claimed they’d protest this decision through the FIA. This all happened before the COVID-19 pandemic broke-out worldwide and saw Formula One postponed until the summer. News regarding the DAS System is still being revealed, with it being confirmed that this innovative feature evolved through a previous feature seen earlier in the 2010s.

Footage from F1 2020 Testing revealed that both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas pulled their steering wheels towards them while driving on straights. Their front wheels would then pitch slightly outwards to provide better downforce, which ensures higher speed on the straights. Every corner that these drivers would approach saw the steering wheel return to its conventional placement.

Multiple teams questioned the legality behind such a formidable innovation. This concern prompted the FIA to outlaw the DAS System for 2021, which follows after the scheduling of the 2020 Season was required with global social distancing being enforced worldwide. Their concern is the only viable reason behind this outlaw, with the FIA also deciding that the 2020 Cars would remain productive throughout the 2021 season. Postponements on the 2021 Updated Regulations were implemented until 2022.

The Bottas Interview

Valtteri Bottas mentioned through a teleconference that the DAS System was known to himself and Lewis Hamilton for more than twelve months. He expressed that they played a critical role in its development. During his remarks with motorsport reporters, he mentioned that this feature was evolved from a previous component in the earlier years of the Hybrid Era. That component didn’t work in its first iteration, with Mercedes Engineers having to wait a prolonged period to implement the feature to their cars. Bottas noted that the DAS System beat his expectations and would prove a formidable feature when the 2022 Season begins.