18:30 – Red Bull Racing has officially protested Mercedes’ inventive DAS system. FIA stewards must now clarify whether the system is found to be legal for racing in 2020. DAS will be banned for next year. Red Bull and Mercedes have to report to the stewards for a session at 7.10 pm.
The protest has now been officially confirmed, but it comes as no surprise. Red Bull made it clear from the winter tests that protest would be filed as soon as Mercedes used DAS during an official race weekend. The corona crisis took longer than planned, but Red Bull ultimately kept its word. After Mercedes confirmed Friday that it would use the DAS system and that was also visible during the training sessions, Red Bull submitted an official letter to the FIA stewards.
Christian Horner hinted at the team boss press conference on Friday to protest and demanded clarification. “I think we have a disagreement about the system, it is clear that driving the car is not the primary purpose of the system,” said Horner. “From a technical point of view, Mercedes obviously thinks they are right, but our engineers think something else. In a situation like this, it is wise to file a protest on Friday so that the stewards are there today. [vrijdag] can still watch. That’s fairer than waiting until after qualifying or race. “
Competition is left with questions
Mercedes introduced the DAS system in February during the first test week of the new Formula 1 season. Thanks to DAS, which means as much as Dual Axis Steering, the driver in question can change the tracking of the front wheels from the cockpit. They do this by pulling or pushing the steering wheel towards themselves. On the straights you can completely straighten the front wheels, which slightly improves the top speed and especially reduces the friction and thus the tire wear. Competition questioned the system in several areas. The FIA indicated at the time that the system is still allowed this year, but with the consent of Mercedes, it was then decided to ban the system from 2021.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff stated earlier today that he understands Red Bull’s protest, but at the same time emphasized that such a protest should not overshadow the opening of the Formula 1 season. Wolff therefore urged Horner to ‘sensibly’ deal with a possible protest. A message that, as it turns out, falls on deaf ears.
VIDEO: This is how the Mercedes DAS system works