Red Bull driver Alexander Albon believes Mercedes’ DAS would’ve still been discovered even without the onboard shot. The Thai driver also shared some interesting insights regarding the steering column mechanism and the team’s reaction.
On day 2 of preseason testing, Mercedes debuted a clever trick with their steering wheel. The team call it ‘DAS’ and is all that the F1 paddock can talk about. DAS stands for Dual Axis Steering and involves a driver-initiated operation that looks quite simple, yet enticing.
When entering a straight, the Mercedes drivers would pull the steering column inwards and towards the end of the straight – push the steering back into its original position.
This action resulted in the front wheels changing their alignment from a toe-in to a toe-out arrangement. F1 cars unlike road cars, follow a different wheel alignment setup. The front wheels angle slightly inwards for better driving and cornering stability.
The toe-in setup loses its advantage on long straights and Mercedes have found a fix for this through the use of DAS.
Albon feels DAS would’ve been discovered even without the onboard shots, thanks to the many photographers in the paddock. When inside the circuit, camera lenses constantly focus on drivers and cars. This is part of the reason why teams go to great lengths to hide their cars from broadcasters and photographers.
Speaking to Motorsport-Total, Albon said:
“It may have taken a little longer before we saw it, but nowadays there are so many photographers scattered everywhere. We would probably have heard and seen it that way anyway. Yet these on-board images are very nice to have,”
Albon also revealed the team’s initial reaction to the steering innovation.
“The team came together to talk about it. It seemed very strange to us all to be able to pull the steering wheel towards you and push it away from you. This feeling must be really weird,”
The Thai driver has had an incident-free preseason test so far. Red Bull’s RB16 proved to be impressive in the long runs and could potentially challenge Mercedes in 2020. The Thai drivers reflected on the test so far and said the team were looking strong.