Who said innovation in Formula 1 was dead? In a move that caught the rest of the paddock by surprise Mercedes unveiled its new dual-axis steering (DAS) mechanism during winter testing at Barcelona.
The system had rivals scurrying to replay onboard footage of Lewis Hamilton as he pushed and pulled at the steering wheel on his W11 during the straights and cornering. The system is believed to adjust the toe angle of the front wheels, most likely to increase the stability on corner entry, without paying a penalty on the straights.
Motor Sport managed to grab this exclusive image of the system being removed before Mercedes pulled down the shutters on its secret tech. Our man in the pits, Lawrence Butcher, takes up the story: “Everyone could see that Lewis Hamilton was using a new system, so, when his long stint was coming to an end, I hot-footed it to the Mercedes garage. As Lewis came in, engineers removed the front of the car and I managed to get a couple of photographs. There was a lot of commotion, and it was clear they were taking the system out because – on the next stint, which Bottas took after lunch – the car wasn’t carrying the system any more.
“You can see the front steering tierods directly in front of the lower wishbones. On top of the bulkhead seems to be a hydraulic reservoir, which could be part of the system.”
Seconds later, Mercedes erected screens around the car.
You can read Butcher’s analysis of how the system is thought to work, as well as our full round-up of testing, on page 102.