Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020

F1 must avoid post-race protest over DAS legality – Wolff

2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the result of the Austrian Grand Prix must not be put into doubt by a protest over the legality of its Dual Axis Steering system.

Rivals Red Bull have confirmed they are seeking a clarification from the FIA on the legality of the device, which allows the Mercedes drivers to adjust the toe angle of their front wheels while driving. Mercedes were seen using DAS on their cars during today’s first practice session.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described DAS as a “very clever system” and gave Mercedes “credit for the ingenuity behind it.”

“But I think the fundamental question for us is does it comply with with the regulations in what is pretty fundamentally a grey area,” he added.

“We do want clarity on it because it does have an impact regarding the rest of this year. It’s something that’s been outlawed for next year but the question is is it right for this year? So they are the questions that we’ll be asking of the FIA through the necessary channels.”

Red Bull looked at developing their own DAS
Wolff said he “respects Christian’s position” in approaching the FIA over DAS. “Clarification is always good,” he said. “We think we are on the on the right side.

“There was a lot of talking and exchange with the FIA. That is the reason why we have it on the car. So we will both bring our arguments forward and then let’s see.”

Formula 1 will hold the first race of its heavily delayed 2020 season on Sunday. Wolff said this makes it important to ensure the outcome of the Austrian Grand Prix is not put in doubt by a dispute over DAS.

“I think, against what you would expect, all teams are pretty much aware that we are in a sensitive situation with going racing,” he said.

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“It’s the first race. I think on one side, it’s fair enough to seek clarification, on the other side we are aware that we don’t want to end up with a big debate on Sunday night. So I think Red Bull is going to take [and] Christian is going to take the right actions.

“Controversy and different judgement on engineering innovation has always been part of Formula 1. This is what’s to be expected in a way. It’s part of the racing.”

Horner said Red Bull has considered adding its own version of DAS to the RB16, but did not confirm whether it has one ready to run.

“It’s a very complicated system,” he said. “Obviously a lot of work has gone into it.

“We’ve certainly looked at it and, like any component, it has to earn its place on the car for the penalty that it carries whether that be weight or packaging, et cetera. So it’s certainly something that subject to a clarification would be under evaluation for the rest of this year.”

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21 comments on “F1 must avoid post-race protest over DAS legality – Wolff”

  1. I think they already have a DAS ready as Mercedes gave the right idea and how not to use it. Which desiging DAS much easier then be the first one to develop a system like this.
    We will see when the DAS comes to RB if all light are green again.

  2. My kind of politics. Thank you Horner!
    I hope he settle with 10 seconds penalty for the first two Austrian races not aiming for DSQ.

  3. Don’t use it.
    No controversy.
    It’s not like RBR made it clear from day one they would protest DAS.

    1. Nik (@nickelodeon81)
      3rd July 2020, 13:43

      Would be better to use it, and the most you lose if a decision is made, is the advantage.

      It’s like saying Brawn should have removed the double diffuser in 2009 and only taken benefit after everyone agreed it was ok.

      1. @nickelodeon81
        “It’s like saying Brawn should have removed the double diffuser in 2009 and only taken benefit after everyone agreed it was ok.”
        Which is not what I am saying at all.
        Toto is using the “controversy” argument as a reason for RBR not to lodge a protest, and my point is; If you don’t want the controversy, don’t install it. And if you do install it, than don’t cry about imminent protests.
        It’s not like RBR haven’t been vocal about lodging a protest from day one.

        “and the most you lose if a decision is made, is the advantage”
        No, if RBR files a protest after the race, and the protest is accepted, Mercedes will lose all their points.

        1. Toto doesn’t want the controversy on Sunday, so he suggest that the ‘clarification” (which he doesn’t object to) happens before that.
          I guess that means before qualifying on Saturday.
          @niki101

  4. RB have clearly had months to lodge this protest, but wait till the very first race to do so. They’ve timed this to perfection in order to torpedo Merc for maximum effect. Very sneaky I must say.

    1. Since there wasn’t any official session since last race in 2019, there wasn’t anything to protest to…

    2. I’m sure there’s something in the rules to say that you can only protest at a race weekend as it’s the race stewards that make the judgement/issue clarifications….

      1. The stewards only ‘work’ during a race weekend, @sattalyte.
        So indeed, as @tallen & @mcbosch state, there was no way for RBR to protest before now.
        The only question (assuming they will protest) is when they will do it, and based on what.

        1. Exactly @coldfly and @mcbosch – yes you can always ask the FIA whether something is legal even outside of race weekends, but since Mercedes already did that and had the system cleared that way to the satisfaction of both Mercedes and FIA as not contravening the rules, any further action has to be by the stewards of the race, who decide on the actual legality of the car as used/presented to them at that event. Hence Red Bull had to wait until it was passed scrutineering and first used on track today.

  5. RBR will lose.

  6. Toto seems pretty confident that they already have the race 1-2 in the bag, I mean who is to say that the result will be brought into question Sunday night, what if Red Bull win with a Mclaren and Racing point on the podium, after a wet race. It seems pretty arrogant to assume, just because teams are wanting clarification on their illegal system, (if it was legal, it wouldn’t have been banned for next year and beyond) that the race result will be brought into question.
    Oh, and I am still waiting for the announcement of the end of the Lewis Hamilton/Hugo Boss partnership………. I just don’t understand why it hasn’t happened yet ;-)

    1. Toto has said nothing about them winning, just the result as a whole. The race result isn’t just who is on the podium, it is the finishing places of all the cars.

    2. if it was legal, it wouldn’t have been banned for next year and beyond

      How can they ban it from next year unless it is allowed this year 😂

      1. ;)

    3. You do realise its only getting banned from next year because Mercedes agreed to it. They wanted to cut costs for 2021 and the fia didn’t want teams spending money developing their own das system. It won’t be banned for this season cos the fia gave Mercedes the ok to develop it. I dont know how many times this needs to be said but Mercedes approached the fia with the idea for the das system and the fia told them it would be legal.

  7. Christian horner should spend less time moaning about the Mercedes das system and start asking questions why redbull are paying Adrian newey so much money when he can’t seem to design a car to beat Mercedes….. but at least horner has his excuse for getting beat this year. Before it was Renault and now they don’t have them to blame they can blame Mercedes’s magic das system.

  8. RedBull may be having challenges “beating” Mercedes, but pinning the gap on one guy is a bit premature. Heck, we have only had two 1st day practice sessions. Let’s wait till after 3 or 4 races. My bet, it will be a lot closer than the times in the first practice.
    If C Horner were to give A. Newey the boot, likely several other teams would be falling all over themselves to take him on. I can only imagine what he could achieve with the resources of Mercedes or Renault. I didn’t mention the “Red” guys cause I doubt that Newey speaks Italian well enough. But then … look at the toys he would have access to and he does like his toys.

    1. They have English people on the team and I believe the majority of the higher end personnel speak English.

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