Red Bull loses appeal against Mercedes’ new steering system

SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull has lost an appeal it lodged against the dual assistant steering system unveiled by Formula One rival Mercedes during winter testing in February.

The DAS helps the Mercedes car’s cornering and reduces its tire wear. On-board footage from testing in Spain showed world champion Lewis Hamilton pulling the steering wheel back and forth on the front straight, apparently changing the angle of the front tires.

Other teams were caught cold by the innovation, with Red Bull claiming in its protest that the DAS is both an aerodynamic and a suspension device. But stewards said it was part of the steering system alone and cleared Mercedes late on Friday night following a hearing.

“DAS is part of the steering system, albeit not a conventional one,” the FIA said in a statement. “The key challenges to the legality of the DAS rely on it not being part of the steering system. If this were indeed the case, then it would be breaching (regulations).”

The system will be banned as from 2021 but can be used by Mercedes and other teams this season.

FIA president Jean Todt welcomed Red Bull’s decision to challenge Mercedes, saying it was good for the competition.

“You have rules and they are interpreted and they are optimised. Clearly if one team has some doubts I feel it very healthy, and good governance, that they make a protest,” Todt said Saturday. “I prefer a team to make a protest at the beginning at the championship, rather than the end of the race. So I think the approach of Red Bull has been very good, very straightforward.”

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