Mercedes’ reinvention of the steering wheel banned a day after it broke cover
Mercedes’ reinvention of the steering wheel has been banned just a day after it broke cover.
Not that Lewis Hamilton and his boffins will mind because it won’t be outlawed until 2021 and is expected to give them a title-winning edge this season.
The design was trialled during testing in Barcelona this week when Hamilton was seen pushing his steering wheel forward at the start of straights, bringing his front tyres inwards, and then pulling it back entering corners, moving the tyres out, providing perfect grip for the demands of the track.
Rivals were aghast at the ingenuity of it all, knowing that it would take them months to match ‘DAS’ — dual-axis steering — as it has been codenamed.
Mercedes only expected to be granted a season’s grace before next year’s regulation changes. It is understood that Mercedes, who have set a blistering pace in testing, will use the new steering wheel at every circuit.
Michael Masi, the FIA race director, pointed to 2021 regulations which state: ‘The alignment of the front wheels must only take place through a constant function of a rotational movement of a single steering wheel.’
Mercedes technical director James Allison said: ‘It’s an innovative idea that allows the drivers an extra dimension of control on the steering system. Why we do it, exactly how it works, and all those things, we’d rather keep those to ourselves.’
Mercedes ended the first test with vastly the fastest lap time yesterday, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel suffered an engine problem.
Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas set a pace only three-tenths of a second shy of the all-time track record at Circuit de Catalunya.Daily Mail