Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Is this the real secret behind the Mercedes DAS system?

Formula 1's technical attention has been dominated by Mercedes' DAS steering system this year, but it has now emerged that it could just be an offshoot of another clever solution already in use by the world champion team.

Is this the real secret behind the Mercedes DAS system?

The story of DAS is intriguing, as the system was only discovered during pre-season testing because F1 had decided to film the sessions live from Barcelona.

Onboard footage captured Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas pushing and pulling on the steering wheel, and it immediately sent shockwaves through the F1 world.

Since then Dual Axis Steering has become a major topic of discussion in the paddock, as rivals have raised serious doubts over the legality of the system. Red Bull even intended to raise a protest over it had the season actually got underway in Australia.

As everyone tried to understand DAS, there were some who believed the system to be a sleight of hand by Mercedes. For rather than it be its main technical innovation, the suspicion was that Mercedes was covering up a solution that could be even more useful for the team.

Now, the indications are that DAS is not something completely new: but is instead just an extension of something Mercedes was already doing.

The system in question relates to the use of Ackerman angle - the difference in steering angle between the inner and outer wheels. Being able to alter that would allow either wheel to follow a different path to optimise slip angle.

It appears that Mercedes has a variable system that allows it to better adjust the Ackermann angle based on the radius of the given corner.

This is achieved through an ingenious combination of suspension geometry and the steering angles employed, all of which will be of great benefit to the car's handling, whilst improving the life and performance of the tyres too.

Ferrari SF1000 front suspension

Ferrari SF1000 front suspension

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

We understand that while Mercedes may have pioneered this dynamic Ackerman arrangement, they are not the only ones to be using it either. Ferrari is believed to have its own version too, having installed it alongside what appears to be a more complicated steering assembly on its car last season and re-optimised it when designing the SF1000.

This puts the Scuderia at an advantage if it does decide to pursue DAS, a concept that it has been in talks with the FIA over for a number of years too.

Its adoption of such a system will likely come down to two factors: the result of any protest launched by Red Bull when the season does finally get underway and whether it will be able to offset the development cost, additional weight of the system and repackaging of its front-end against the lap times gains that are on offer.

It is understood that the system was already employed on the W10. DAS is simply another piece in the jigsaw puzzle, allowing it to run at even more aggressive angles and then manually reset for the straights.

This has incremental benefits in cornering performance and also offers a straight line speed boost, as not only does it result in less tyre scrub but it also realigns the tyre to alter the turbulence it creates.

DAS is a shining example of how a team can continue to demonstrate ingenuity even during a period of relatively stable regulations.

shares
comments
McLaren F1 staff finally home after quarantine
Previous article

McLaren F1 staff finally home after quarantine

Next article

Impossible to tell when F1 will be back to normal - Szafnauer

Impossible to tell when F1 will be back to normal - Szafnauer
Load comments
How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup Prime

How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup

Holding a race in Las Vegas – party central, a city of dreams and decadence and, yes, more than a smattering of tackiness – has been on Liberty Media’s most-wanted list since it acquired Formula 1’s commercial rights. But, as LUKE SMITH explains, F1 has been here before and the relationship didn’t work out

Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads Prime

Why de Vries' FP1 outing could add a new path to his current crossroads

A Formula 2 and Formula E champion, Nyck de Vries is currently considering where his future in motorsport lies. Continuing in WEC and Formula E is possible and he's also courted glances Stateside after impressing in an IndyCar test. But ahead of his Formula 1 FP1 debut with Williams, he could have another option if he impresses...

Why Leclerc's crash shouldn't put off F1 drivers tasting history Prime

Why Leclerc's crash shouldn't put off F1 drivers tasting history

OPINION: For a demo run ahead of Monaco's Historique Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was blessed with the opportunity to drive Niki Lauda's former Ferrari 312B3 - but a brake failure at Rascasse suggested Leclerc's Monaco hoodoo transcended contemporary F1. Although an awkward incident, Leclerc deserves credit for embracing F1's history.

Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari is a mirage Prime

Why the lack of "needle" between Red Bull and Ferrari is a mirage

OPINION: The fight for the 2022 Formula 1 world titles between Red Bull and Ferrari so far features little of the public animosity that developed between the former and Mercedes last year. But that isn’t to say things are full on friendly or won’t get much worse very quickly…

Formula 1
May 17, 2022
The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight Prime

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight

The Toleman TG184 was the car that could, according to legend, have given Ayrton Senna his first F1 win but for Alain Prost and Jacky Ickx at Monaco in 1984. That could be stretching the boundaries of the truth a little, but as STUART CODLING explains, the team's greatest legacy was in giving the Brazilian prodigy passed over by bigger outfits an opportunity

Formula 1
May 16, 2022
Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Prime

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but Mark Gallagher believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate.

Formula 1
May 15, 2022
How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo Prime

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo

US-owned but until recently Russian-backed, Haas seems to have reached a turning point in car performance after three gruesome seasons. And it needs to if it’s to attract fresh investment. Team boss Gunther Steiner tells Oleg Karpov how close Haas came to the abyss.

Formula 1
May 14, 2022
How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket Prime

How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket

As Formula 1 teams have settled down in understanding the new generation of cars and the way they need to maximise their performance, fresh lessons have emerged. Jonathan Noble investigates how they have brought with them an all-new kind of grand prix racing

Formula 1
May 12, 2022