New Mercedes steering system set to be banned from 2021

Ross Houston
February 26, 2020

"This year we've chose to focus more on ourselves, trying to learn the vehicle as much as possible in the first few days and focus on performance a bit later on and see if that pays off", Charles Leclerc said on Wednesday.

"We will see what teams can come up with, within those boundaries of what the regulations are written for in 2021". It's never a ideal science, as we still don't know fuel loads and engine modes, but it at least allows for some educated guesswork by the end of testing.

Valtteri Bottas set the pace with a 1:15.732 in his DAS-fitted W11 while his team-mate Lewis Hamilton was second quickest, 0.784s down.

If Ferrari were hiding their true pace, anxious fans could take little comfort from the total number of laps covered, however. The first week gave some indications of which teams are better prepared for the new season than others, but making sense of the pecking order was a hard task given how little representative running there was. Spanking new it looks gorgeous, and it looked super-fast - but the proof will be in the pudding with Charles behind the wheel in Barcelona testing this month.

Racing Point, whose auto looks like a pink painted version of last year's Mercedes, have been fast and reliable while Red Bull's Max Verstappen has been noticeably cheerful after a prodigious number of laps.

Drivers will be back on the track on Friday to close out the first week of testing. McLaren beat Renault to "best of the rest" honours past year in what was a straight fight between the two.

Pérez had set the quickest time in the morning session.

What does Mercedes" "DAS' steering wheel do? That placed them eighth overall, ahead of only Williams (324) and Haas (316).

Mattia Binotto claims Ferrari opted against pursuing a similar concept to the Mercedes Dual Axis Steering (DAS) in part because it presumed the system would not be legal.

"We have got a auto here whose development slope has kicked up, is steeper than the one that we finished last year's with, in that very, very good vehicle from 2019".

We may not know who will win this season-long battle by the end of this week, but we will have a much clearer idea of how the pecking order looks before the racing action kicks off in Australia.

The question now is: do Mercedes have anything else up their sleeve that they haven't shown off yet? We'll soon find out.

Formula 1's second three-day test will begin at the Spanish Grand Prix venue on Wednesday. Mechanical stoppages out on track were rare and most of the cars seemed astonishingly reliable straight out of the box.

Teams can run whatever fuel load they want in testing and also try out concepts and devices that would be illegal in race conditions.

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