Bottas feels rivals will struggle to copy DAS
Valtteri Bottas believes it will be hard for teams to copy Mercedes’ novel dual-axis steering system concept, saying he first heard about its development almost one year ago.
Mercedes sparked intrigue in the Formula 1 paddock when it debuted its new DAS system on the second day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.
The system allowed Bottas and teammate Lewis Hamilton to adjust the toe angle of the Mercedes W11 car by pulling the steering wheel towards them in the cockpit.
The team is confident of its legality, while the FIA has not expressed any safety concerns over its usage.
“Obviously it’s very nice to be the only team running that kind of system. I think it tells something about the great minds our team has,” Bottas explained.
“For sure it’s not just an easy thing to start making and designing, then actually making it work as it is now.
“We’re still learning about the system and the potential, but I think in some kind of circumstances, it can be really good. That will be shown later in the year in different conditions and tracks. But it’s quite impressive.”
Asked how long he had known about DAS, Bottas said: “I’ve been aware of it for quite a long time. It’s not a quick project.
“I think the first time I heard something about it was nearly one year ago or something.”
Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel said he thought the usage of the system would feel “weird” for the Mercedes drivers, comparing it to “running in flip-flops”.
But Bottas stressed it felt easy to use when in the cockpit, revealing the team had managed to incorporate DAS into its simulations.
“It doesn’t feel that strange. The system just works in a very good way,” Bottas said.
“It’s pretty solid, and never does anything funny, and you only move the wheel if you want to.
“We could simulate it in different ways, and try it with some simulation tools before we ran it on the car.
“There were no difficulties really. It’s been pretty well-designed and made, and it’s simple to use and there’s no issues basically.”
Bottas was certain the team would not have invested so much time and effort into developing DAS if the system was not legal, adding it would be hard for Mercedes’ rivals to design their own versions.
“I don’t think that our team would start making and designing something that they think would get banned. I think we’re pretty comfortable that it is within the rules,” Bottas said.
“For the other teams, it’s something to think about, and I’m sure they’re all evaluating if it’s worth investing that amount of time and effort to try and make it for this year or not.
“For us it was a pretty big project, and it would be a pretty difficult to copy. I hope we can have an edge with that. We’re in a good place with that ahead of the other teams.”
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