In the pre-season testing of the 2020 Formula1 season, Mercedes launched a revolutionary feature, which went viral and caused high chaos in the world of Racing and Motorsports.
What is DAS?
Dual Axis Steering System is a new feature that appears to change the alignment (toe angle) of the front wheels. It is controlled by the driver by pulling and pushing on the steering column
What does DAS do?
Since this system changes the toe alignment of the wheels, it is highly useful in cornering as a toe out angle is beneficial while cornering. When the driver pulls the wheel towards him, the wheel results in toe in and when he pushes it away, it results in toe out.
Why it led to so much chaos?
This system is capable of changing the alignment while the vehicle is in motion, this caused high controversies amongst other teams.
When did it came into light?
This system came to light from on-board camera footage on the second day of the first pre-season test at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Driver Lewis Hamilton could be seen pulling the steering wheel towards him at the start of straights, which appeared to change the angle of the front wheels by moving their forward edges towards the centreline of the car. Then, before the
next corner, he would push the steering wheel away from him again, which changed the angle back so the leading edge of the front wheels was angled further away from the car.
Is it legal?
Almost from the moment the mechanism was first spotted, there were question marks about whether such a system would be allowed by the F1 governing authorities.
But Mercedes say they’re not concerned about legality issues. “This isn’t news to the FIA, it’s something we’ve been talking to them for some time. The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems and we’re pretty confident that it matches those requirements.” Said James Allison, Technical Director of Mercedes-AMG.
Is it safe?
Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas only used it for the first time on Day 2 of pre-season testing, but when asked if using the system was distracting in any way, the defending champion said he had no concerns.
Overall, the system has caused panic amongst teams as this could be highly beneficial for Mercedes and the other teams will try to incorporate this or some other new system. Ferrari even said that if they try to incorporate this new technology, that would not be sooner than the mid-season at the earliest.