Could Mercedes' DAS be challenged as breach of F1 parc ferme rules?

Mercedes' dual-axis steering system could still be challenged as a breach of Formula 1's parc ferme regulations despite being given the all-clear by the FIA

Could Mercedes' DAS be challenged as breach of F1 parc ferme rules?

The device, which allows Mercedes' drivers to adjust the toe angle of the front wheels by pushing or pulling the steering wheel, has grabbed the attention of rival teams.

Most understand why it is allowed by F1's 2020 technical regulations, but there appears to be question mark over whether it complies with F1's rules that limit what teams can change after the start of qualifying at grands prix.

Renault's sporting director Alan Permane said: "We don't know what it is doing.

"James Allison [Mercedes technical director] and his men have done something clever, and undoubtedly they think there is plenty of lap time in it.

"I'm sure they've been through it with probably Nikolas [Tombazis], the FIA and his guys and are happy it's legal. I agree.

"There's probably a parc ferme question mark over it, but I suspect that the detail lies in is it a steering system or is it suspension system?

"The two in the technical regs are defined differently and that's where the detail is."

F1's sporting regulations dictate that a car is under parc ferme conditions from the moment it leaves the pitlane during qualifying until the start of the race.

Article 34.6 of the rules adds: "A competitor may not modify any part on the car or make changes to the set-up of the suspension whilst the car is being held under parc ferme conditions.

"In the case of a breach of this article the relevant driver must start the race from the pitlane and follow the procedures laid out in Article 36.2.

"In order that the scrutineers may be completely satisfied that no alterations have been made to the suspension systems or aerodynamic configuration of the car [with the exception of the front wing] whilst in pre-race parc ferme, it must be clear from physical inspection that changes cannot be made without the use of tools."

It could be argued that being able to alter the toe angle of the front wheels through the movement of the steering wheel does not fully comply with this, although much will depend on what defines a suspension system.

Asked about a potential parc ferme rules issue, F1 race director Michael Masi declined to elaborate on the specifics of the Mercedes case.

"We don't discuss individual teams' technical elements," he said.

"When we've got a query from a team, we deal with them on a one-on-one basis. So that's all I'm going to say.

"I know you are looking for a headline but I'm probably not going to provide one for you.

"Like anything, we will continue working with the team and all teams on all aspects of anything they would like to bring forward."

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