Red Bull lodge protest against Mercedes’ DAS

By Matt Morlidge

Last Updated: 03/07/20 6:00pm

Red Bull have formally lodged a protest against Mercedes’ ‘DAS’ system ahead of Formula 1’s season-opening Austrian GP.

The DAS – Dual-Axis Steering – device, which allows drivers to move the steering wheel backwards and forwards, was used by both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas throughout Friday practice and Mercedes are adamant that it is legal having discussed it with the FIA before its debut at Testing.

But Red Bull have launched a protest, citing an “alleged breach of Articles 3.8 and 10.2.3” of F1’s technical regulations during Practice Two.

Article 3.8 relates to parts having aerodynamic influence on the car, and 10.2.3 states that “no adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion”.

Mercedes have to report to Austrian GP stewards at 7.10pm local time (6.10pm UK).

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Sky F1’s Anthony Davidson and Karun Chandhok review the practice session ahead of this weekend’s season-opener in Austria.

Sky F1’s Anthony Davidson and Karun Chandhok review the practice session ahead of this weekend’s season-opener in Austria.

Why Red Bull are protesting DAS

Mercedes dominated Friday’s running in Austria, with Hamilton leading a one-two in both sessions.

Although it’s unclear if DAS gives Mercedes’ drivers a big advantage, the legality of the innovative system – which alters the toe angle of their car – has been questioned since it sparked intrigue at pre-season testing.

The FIA have already confirmed that it won’t be legal on the 2021 cars.

Red Bull were planning to protest against Mercedes at the Australian GP before it was cancelled, and team boss Christian Horner strongly hinted to Sky F1 earlier on Friday that they would do so formally.

“Obviously we’re keen just to get clarity on that system using the mechanisms that are available and getting it addressed quickly early in the weekend,” Horner explained.

“We have a difference of opinion on the system. Its primary performance isn’t to steer car obviously so, yes, of course there is a technical position that Mercedes will think one thing, our engineers think something else so in situations like this the best thing is to address it via a protest.”

But Horner also said Red Bull would consider adding the concept to their car should it be permitted.

“It depends what it actually does and achieves,” he added. “Everything has to earn its place on the car.

“Obviously it’s a clever system, it’s an ingenious system but obviously these rules are so complex. It’s just understanding what part of the regulations it fits.”

More to follow.

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