Before Mercedes made it cool, Renault F1 had already developed its own prototype of DAS way back in 2011. The French team even gave a live demonstration during race day at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. As a side note – For all intents and purposes, this article is a parody.
When Renault F1 demonstrated DAS before Mercedes
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or completely missed day 2 of winter testing, you would’ve heard of Mercedes’ neat little trick. The Brackley based outfit debuted its newest innovation for 2020, yesterday at the Circuit de Barcelona. The mechanism involves a little tweaking of the steering column, which in turn changes the front wheel alignment of the W11.
At first glance, this seemed harmless, but on closer look fans realized Mercedes had done some serious work back at Brackley. When Hamilton pulled the steering column inwards, there was a minor realignment of the front wheels. The front wheels appeared to straighten as a result of the action. Furthermore, as Hamilton pushed the column back in, the wheels realigned to their original position.
This action is performed mainly on long straights, to gain a nominal advantage. Rival teams are questioning this mechanism (as they should), but the Mercedes claim their innovation is legal and within the rules.
Renault demonstrated a very early version of this at Sepang Circuit in the 2011 F1 race. Vitaly Petrov lost control on the exit of turn 7 and decided to take a little off-road diversion. Additionally, The Russian went off into the grass and unknowingly kept the throttle pinned. Petrov failed to acknowledge the kerbs and circuit markers in place, which were having none of it.
The result was the Russian’s car being launched in the air and thrown towards the other part of the track. Petrov’s Renault trundled to a halt and the Russian was holding his steering wheel in the air. The enormous impact had completely broken the steering column, ending Petrov’s race on lap 52 of 56.
A quite comical yet early interpretation of the W11’s steering column trick. Who knows, maybe the German team drew inspiration at Renault’s expense.
Mercedes have claimed that the FIA have complete knowledge of the DAS and its working. Teams and fans will be glued to their tv monitors to get a better glimpse of the W11 onboard. Today is the final day of the first phase of F1 testing.