The Formula 1 racing team Red Bull officially protested the DAS system (Dual Axis Steering) of Mercedes vehicles on Friday. According to Red Bull, the system violates Articles 3.8 and 10.2.3 of the technical regulations. The race stewards checked and rejected this on Saturday night.
Rules 3.8 and 10.2.3 in the technical regulations of the FIA are about DAS being supposedly a moving aerodynamic part for the Red Bull racing team, which – with some restrictions – is generally prohibited. Article 10.2.3 also prohibits changing the suspension of the bolide while the vehicle is moving:
3.8) With the exception of the parts described in Articles 11.4, 11.5 and 11.6, and the rear view mirrors described in Article 14.3, any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance:
a. Must comply with the rules relating to bodywork.
b. Must be rigidly secured to the entirely jump part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom).
With the exception of the driver adjustable bodywork described in Article 3.6.8 (in addition to minimal parts solely associated with its actuation) and the parts described in Articles 11.4, 11.5 and 11.6, any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance must remain immobile in relation to the jump part of the car.
Any device or construction that is designed to bridge the gap between the jump part of the car and the ground is prohibited under all circumstances.
No part having an aerodynamic influence and no part of the bodywork, with the exception of the parts referred to in Articles 3.7.10, 3.7.11 and 3.7.12, may under any circumstances be located below the reference plane.
With the exception of the parts necessary for the adjustment described in Article 3.6.8, any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited.
10.2.3) No adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion.
In the course of the Friday evening there was a hearing with the race commissioners, whereby the “Silberpfeil” stable from Mercedes was quite confident that the protest would be withstood – otherwise the system would not have been installed. Red Bull has indicated well in advance that it will protest as soon as the system is used. The FIA previously assumed that it was a steering system and was not part of the suspension.
The race commissioners in Spielberg rejected Red Bull’s protest on Saturday night and saw no reason to complain, since it is not a suspension system, but a steering system.
In a six-page reasoning, the stewards largely follow Mercedes’ arguments that “DAS” is a steering system, although not conventional steering. One reason for this is the assumption that the direction of travel in normal steering changed depending on the setting of the lane values, after which the system influences the direction of travel. Like the steering itself, the new system is operated by the driver’s power, which is also supported by hydraulics.
THE system – the new track adjustment system
The DAS system from Mercedes F1 team is a deposit of another solution that the Silver Arrows had previously used. The new system was first noticed during the winter tests in Barcelona, where the pilots Hamilton and Bottas pulled the steering wheel towards themselves to push it forward again later. Since then, “Dual Axis Steering” has often been part of the conversation.
Mercedes F1 team
The system refers to the Ackermann angle, which describes the difference in the steering angle between the inner and outer wheels. If this angle were changed, each wheel could take a different path to improve the slip angle. Here Mercedes has probably installed a variable system to adjust the angle according to the radius of the curve. The effect: improved handling of the vehicle as well as a longer service life and performance for the tires. Even more aggressive angles are possible to reset the settings on the straight line (and to improve the speed by a maximum of approx. 1 km / h).
Images: Daimler AG