Lewis Hamilton has categorically denied a new conspiracy theory that Mercedes had stealthily reintroduced their breakthrough DAS system.
DAS (dual-axis system) was used by both Mercedes drivers during the 2020 campaign, with Hamilton and Bottas pushing and pulling on the steering wheel to adjust the toe angle of their car. This helped prolong the window of optimum tyre performance and helped better control tyre temperatures.
Ahead of the 2021 season the FIA outlawed the system – but that has not stopped some thinking that Mercedes still have the system in place.
On-board footage from Hamilton’s car during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix fanned those particular flames, with the seven-time World Champion seen moving his wheel around.
Hamilton was asked about the steering wheel movement on media day in Qatar, but said he was not pushing and pulling on his wheel like we saw last season.
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“My steering column doesn’t move forwards and backwards, it just moves [left and right],” he said. “We had that last year, we don’t have it now.
“On Saturday [in Sao Paulo], I think there was a little bit of play in it, but it’s like less than a millimetre probably, that I don’t like and then there was no play. So not really sure what you’re watching.”
Even though there is no ‘DAS 2′ being used, that will not stop Mercedes’ title rivals Red Bull continuing to keep a very close eye on the W12 in the final three races of this incredible 2021 season.
The main area of focus is on the Mercedes rear wing, with Red Bull not ruling out an official protest on the degree of flexing occurring as the W12 transitions out of corners and onto the straights.
Hamilton’s rear wing used in Friday qualifying at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix was deemed illegal by the FIA after post-session scrutineering, but this was due to a separate issue relating to the DRS flap opening wider than the regulations allow.
The FIA’s investigation concluded that there was no foul play from Mercedes and the DRS fault came as a result of damage sustained to the rear wing.
The Mercedes power unit, more specifically the internal combustion engine, is also causing a stir – especially after Mercedes confirmed they tactically introduced a new ICE to Hamilton’s pool knowing the power boost that comes with a fresh engine will quickly overcome the five-place grid penalty that it automatically triggers as per the current regulations.
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