“James [Allison] and his men have done something clever and undoubtedly they think there’s going to be lap time in it. I’m sure they’ve been through it with probably Nicholas [Tombazis] at the FIA and his guys and are happy it’s legal.
“It’s certainly not a system that we are going to copy or have on the car for Melbourne. It’s highly complex and advanced and I suspect it’s taken them a long time to figure it out and a lot of testing back at the factory. So if there is a benefit and it is legal, you won’t see other cars with it for quite some time.”
But what exactly does “quite some time” mean? Most team members were reluctant to give a timeframe, mainly due to the fact they have not yet been able to analyse the system in detail and full understand what it would take to replicate (they do have their own cars to focus on right now, after all).
It was up to Ferrari’s team principal Mattia Binotto to put a rough schedule on the concept, and it is one that will be music to Mercedes’ ears as he certainly doesn’t see another team being able to copy the idea by the opening race.
“I think in case it is worthwhile which I have no idea or not but it will certainly take longer than [Melbourne],” Binotto said. “It needs an entire concept, design, producing it, homologation and tested to be safe. If it is, I think it can be by mid-season but not earlier.”
A little can also be learned from how long Mercedes has been developing DAS itself. And to that end, Valtteri Bottas provided little encouragement for rivals.
“For sure it’s not an easy thing to start making and designing and then actual make it work as it is now,” Bottas said. “We are still learning about the system and the potential, but I think in some circumstances it can be pretty good. That will be shown later on in the year in different conditions and different tracks, how it can help us, if it can. It’s quite impressive that it works all fine.
“I’ve been aware of it for quite a long time, it’s not a quick project. I think the first time I heard something about it was nearly one year ago…”