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Racing Point won't develop DAS system unless benefit justifies cost

Racing Point will have to carefully weigh up the costs and benefits of developing a DAS system before it green lights such a project, according to team principal Otmar Szafnauer

Mercedes revealed on Thursday of the opening Formula 1 test in Barcelona that it was using a 'dual-axis steering' (DAS) system, with the knowledge and tacit approval of the FIA.

However, on Friday morning the FIA moved to clarify that such a system will not be permitted under the 2021 regulations although teams could opt to develop their own variations of the Mercedes system this year.

Szafnauer acknowledged that the DAS was "a clever bit of ingenuity" and predicted that "everyone now will see how quickly we can get it on".

Racing Point already buys some suspension parts from Mercedes, along with its power unit and gearbox, but doesn't use any steering system elements from Mercedes.

However, Szafnauer insisted that the team would prefer to proceed with its own system than purchase one if it decided the investment proved worthwhile.

"Depending on the effort and the benefit," he said when asked if Racing Point would develop its own system.

"If it's a huge effort for little benefit, probably not, because we have limited resource. But if it's a small effort for a big benefit, than probably yes.

"I remember in the McLaren F-duct days, it was a bit of a ruse to get everyone else [to follow].

"Because McLaren had spent so much time and effort developing it that they thought it was not an easy thing to do, [it] thought, 'well let them spend all their time and effort during the season developing this, which means they won't be developing something else'.

"So there is that there is that question too. And again, I think it comes back to benefit versus effort. So if the effort is too big for a benefit that isn't there, then you should be spending your limited resource on something that gives you a bigger benefit.

"If we decide to go down this route, we'll do it ourselves anyway.

"It'll be interesting to see who's the fast follower on this."

Haas team boss Gunther Steiner suggested that his team is unlikely to pursue DAS, as its resources can be better used on "lower-hanging fruit" elsewhere.

"I don't want to say if we can do it or not, but I think we wouldn't spend time to develop, to do this, because we've got lower-hanging fruit to get than a steering wheel that goes up and down and does something to the front suspension," he said.

"Hopefully we find out soon what it does, somebody will come up with an explanation or maybe Mercedes explains it - I guess they don't.

"But for sure a midfield team is not going to invest resources to figure something out like this because we've got issues which give us more return for the investment."

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