The FIA have rejected a protest by Red Bull against Mercedes’ use of its innovative Dual Axis Steering (DAS) system, deeming the concept legal in regards to the sport’s technical regulations.
After Mercedes debuted the controversial system at Barcelona in pre-season testing, many rival teams began debating the legality of the steering system.
The most vocal of all teams being Red Bull who had already announced they would be protesting the system at the Australian Grand Prix before that event was cancelled at the eleventh hour.
Following Mercedes dominance in Friday practice, in which both drivers used DAS, a voluble Christian Horner admitted his team had lodged an official protest with the stewards.
Red Bull insisted the system fell foul under the regulations which stipulated “no adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion”.
However, at 12.31 am local time the stewards issued a statement confirming they had rejected Red Bull’s protest.
Mercedes had successfully counterargued Red Bull’s claims by highlighting that any conventional steering system is also capable of manipulating the toe angle of cars via a change in steering angle, thus DAS had its limitations.
“The Stewards consider DAS to be a legitimate part of the steering system and hence to satisfy the relevant regulations regarding suspension or aerodynamic influence,” the report read.
“The Stewards believe DAS is part of the Steering system, albeit not a conventional one. The key challenges to the legality of DAS rely on it not being part of the Steering system.
“The DAS is hydraulically‐assisted like any conventional Formula 1 steering system, but remains under the full control of the driver at all times. Physically, the DAS is integrated with the conventional steering system of the car.
“As such, it benefits of the implicit exceptions to certain suspension regulations applicable to steering.”
The decision is a bitter blow for several of Mercedes’ rivals as the team will now be permitted to utilise DAS in full qualifying trim and in Sunday’s Grand Prix.
The system does remain outlawed for the 2020 season.
A full copy of the Stewards report can be read below: