Allison: 'FIA didn't believe we could make the DAS system work'

03-06-2020 13:22
Allison: 'FIA didn't believe we could make the DAS system work'

Mercedes introduced the DAS system during the winter tests in Barcelona and although they are allowed to use this system in the coming season, it will be banned for 2021 and later. The team will therefore only be allowed to use their invention for a short time, and a new video from Mercedes will take a closer look at the creation by technical director James Allison.


Many teams questioned the legality of the DAS system, but the FIA indicated that the system as implemented by Mercedes may be used. However, the development took a lot of time because the team was actually planning to use the DAS system as early as the 2019 season. However, this was not feasible, because the FIA did not like the original idea.

"We took our ideas to the FIA and showed it to them. We explained to them why it was legal and they begrudgingly agreed that the system was actually legal. But they weren't happy with the way we did it because we could drive the second axle with a lever on the steering wheel. That instead of moving the whole wheel."

Too difficult

And that's where it gets interesting, because the FIA indicated with that statement that the system would be legal, but that its effective operation had to be different. That with the idea - says Allison - that it would be too difficult to achieve, but the technicians on the team don't care about that.

"They said: 'No, you'll have to be able to move the whole wheel.' And I think that when they said that, they were hoping that it would be too difficult and that we would get rid of it so that it wouldn't be a problem for them either." Thought wrong, because Mercedes went back to the drawing board and came up with a more advanced system a year later.

"We have a very inventive chief designer, John Owen, and he was looking at the (new) challenge. He has a very good gut feeling for whether something is doable or not and that's very helpful. That allows us to spend money where most people would see the outcome as uncertain."

"John accepted the challenge and said he could do it. He took it to our very talented group of mechanical designers, and so two or three ways were devised in which it would be possible. We picked out the most likely of those three, and about a year after that, the DAS system that you saw at the start of this season appeared."

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