Mercedes ended the season opener by topping the leaderboard with 37 points. Valtteri Bottas bagged his 8th Grand Prix win, while Lewis Hamilton finished in 4th place.
It looked as though the Silver Arrows would complete a 1-2 until Hamilton was given a 5 second time penalty, for his collision with Red Bull’s Alex Albon.
The Austrian Grand Prix also marked the first race in which the Brackley-based outfit tested its new DAS (Dual Axis Steering) system. Mercedes were granted the go-ahead for using this system, but some teams like Red Bull remained suspicious of its legality and voiced their concern to the FIA.
However, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was totally fine with Red Bull’s suspicion.
The Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was in conversation with Autosport. He said, “I think people in F1 are always interested in technical innovation and describing what seems to be a silver bullet, that could potentially be a game-changer.
“It adds a new dimension to the steering. But today you won’t be able to say this has changed the game for us. It’s great innovation. The idea behind it is fantastic, and I love the fact if it is us or another team that comes up with new ideas.”
Wolff also said he doesn’t begrudge the Red Bull team for their suspicion. In fact, contrary to that, he lauded them, for seeking timely clarification.
He said, “The system is so innovative that it is fair enough that clarification is being sought. I must say it was fair play from Red Bull to seek that clarification by a protest on Friday night and not on Sunday night.
“I like the sportsmanship of the decision. And it’s absolutely ok to protest. I think we would have done it the other way around too.”
However, it’s worth remembering that the FIA has granted permission for Mercedes to use the DAS only for 2020. It will be banned from usage next season after the new regulations were introduced.
But it’s not like Mercedes would think of it as too big of a setback. Even without the DAS, their car is still miles ahead of any other car on the grid.