Red Bull lodge official protest against Mercedes DAS system
There was drama on the eve of the new Formula 1 season as Red Bull launched a formal protest of Mercedes’ innovative Dual Axis Steering System (DAS) after Friday practice for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Earlier on Friday, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said his team intended to seek clarification from the FIA regarding the legality of the system, which Mercedes first debuted in pre-season testing back in February, and which will be banned from 2021 onwards.
And after first two Friday practice sessions of the revised 2020 season at the Red Bull Ring, the FIA released documents revealing representatives from Mercedes and Red Bull were required to report to the race stewards at 1910 local time.
They said Red Bull had lodged a protest regarding an alleged breach of the Technical Regulations, specifically article 3.8 which refers to aerodynamic influence and article 10.2.3, which states “no adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion”.
The stewards will now decide whether the car is legal. If it is deemed not to be, the team must make the required changes - which will essentially mean they have to remove the system.
Should they rule it is legal, Mercedes can continue to run the system - and it will draw a line under the issue. Other teams may then choose to add their own version of the system to the car - which Horner hinted Red Bull may do, following clarification.
A decision will be made before FP3 at midday (local time) on Saturday.
Mercedes have previously insisted the device is legal, with Technical Director James Allison saying at testing in February: "The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems and we’re pretty confident that it matches those requirements.”
The protest came after Mercedes finished one-two in both Friday practices, having run the DAS system throughout the two 90-minute sessions.