Red Bull have stirred plenty of drama on the eve of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix with the team launching an official protest against Mercedes’ controversial Dual Axis Steering System.
DAS was first spied during pre-season testing at Barcelona with the team’s drivers seen pulling on their steering wheel while on a straight to manipulate the angle of the toe in the front tyres.
The team has been especially coy on what DAS primary function is with several rumours sparking amongst numerous experts.
Formula One technical analyser Mark Hughes explained the significant benefit a system like DAS could be to Mercedes:
“If the Mercedes mechanism works as assumed, the tyres will be heated more evenly across their width as they run fully upright, but the benefits of toe-out can still be deployed into the corner. It will be of particular benefit on circuits with long straights.”
During Friday practice, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said his team did intend to confront the FIA regarding the legality of the system which Mercedes has brought to Austria.
After the opening two practice sessions, which were both headed by a Mercedes 1-2, the FIA released documents revealing representatives from Mercedes and Red Bull were required to report to the race stewards at 1910 local time.
The documents confirmed Red Bull had lodged a protest regarding an alleged breach of the Technical Regulations which stipulate “no adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion”.
If DAS is deemed illegal Mercedes will be forced to remove the system or risk exclusion from Sunday’s race.
The system has already been outlawed for 2021 though any official protest into its 2020 use was not set to be launched until the curtailed Australian Grand Prix.
A decision will be made ahead of FP3 tonight (midday local time).