Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas ‘failed to understand’ Mercedes’ banned tactic
Mercedes-AMG announce Project ONE with Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes technical director James Allison has explained the innovative feature that Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas could not get to grips with during the 2020 campaign and has now been banned by the FIA.
Mercedes invested a decent amount to fit a Dual Axis Steering (DAS) system to their W11 car last year.
The ingenious idea was spotted during winter testing when their drivers were able to pull the steering wheel towards them – similar to how an aeroplane pilot does – to lift the tyres off the ground.
Usually, a steering wheel can only turn clockwise or anticlockwise, depending on the direction you wish to travel.
The purpose of lifting Hamilton or Bottas’ tyres off the track at moments during a race would help to keep them warm and reduce blistering.
Instead, the Silver Arrows predominantly used DAS before the start of a race or qualifying lap.
However, Allison had hoped DAS would have been relied upon more often – but his team’s stars did not fully understand the complicated system.
The FIA have since banned the function and it will no longer be seen on an F1 car.
“It has done just about everything we hoped it would do,” Allison explained. “In theory, we wanted to use it more, in the sense that the driver could have optimised it from one corner to the next with new or old tyres.
“That would have made a lot of steering behaviour unnecessary. However, it turns out the drivers didn’t find it easy to use the system. It wasn’t as clear as turning left or right.
“Perhaps in a normal season with more tests and stages of development, we would have been able to perfect the system as the drivers would have been able to use it even more.
“But it helped us to get the front tyres warmed up during the heating or restart laps.
“It’s a pity we couldn’t get everything figured out and that it’s banned, but we understand that it would have been costly and not much of an advantage to force everyone to go into this development. ”
Hamilton still had plenty of other tricks in his car which helped him win a record-equalling seventh world title.
The 35-year-old is expected to continue his dominance this season – but not everyone is convinced Hamilton’s success has been down to his own ability.
“I have a lot of respect for what they’ve achieved,” Red Bull star Max Verstappen said. “I’m not frustrated about Lewis in a Mercedes car.
“To be honest, 90 per cent of the field could win in that car. Nothing against Lewis, he’s a great driver, but the car is so dominant.
“OK, maybe others wouldn’t be as dominant as Lewis is, but you accept the situation you are in and you just try to make the best of it.”
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