The FIA has revealed that Red Bull Racing lodged a formal protest against the Dual-Axis Steering system of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport outfit after Friday’s free practice sessions.
Mercedes has caused a stir during pre-season testing when it introduced its Dual-Axis Steering system (DAS). Allegations started to circle that the solution does not comply with Formula One’s Technical Regulation, but the FIA stated that it was delighted with the operation of the novel system.
In February, Mercedes Team Principal James Allison stated that DAS „just introduces an extra dimension for the steering, for the driver, which we hope will be useful during the year.”
"This isn’t news to the FIA, it’s something we’ve been talking to them [about] for some time. The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems and we’re pretty confident that it matches those requirements.”
The device that can change the alignment (toe) of the front wheels is believed to help tyre warm-up on out lap during qualifying and during safety car periods in races.
Red Bull has now lodged a formal complaint against the legality of the system with its protest based on the grounds that DAS is a movable aerodynamic device that alters the suspension while the car is in motion.
"Any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance must comply with the rules relating to bodywork" and "must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom),” claims Article 3.8 of the Sporting Regulations.
On Friday, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner indicated that his team will seek clarification on the legality of the controversial technical solution. “First of all it is a very clever system, and so all credit to the ingenuity behind it. I think the fundamental question for us is does it comply with the regulations.
“In what are, in a fundamentally grey area, obviously we do want clarity on it as it does have an impact regarding the rest of this year, it’s something outlawed for next year, question is it right for this year, they’re the questions we’ll be asking of the FIA through the necessary channels.”
FIA has communicated that Red Bull and Mercedes are due to meet the stewards at 19.10 (local).