Former Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon says he was unaware of the existence of Mercedes’ controversial Dual Axis Steering device.
The ingenious DAS system, which was incidentally revealed in pre-season testing, allows a driver in action to change the toe angle of the W11’s front wheels, a trick that in turn can impact a car’s tyre temperatures or straight-line speed.
Ocon spent the 2019 season as Mercedes simulator driver and embedded with the team on Grand Prix weekends. But the Frenchman insists he knew absolutely nothing about the development of the Silver Arrows squad’s system.
Hamilton banking on DAS to make a ‘huge difference’
“Guess what? I didn’t, I swear I didn’t!” the now Renault driver told French broadcaster Canal Plus.
“Either they were very, very clever and didn’t show me the impact of the system or they came up with it very late and designed it once I was gone, once I was stuck between Renault and Mercedes.
“After the end of the season, I wasn’t allowed to go back to the factory, I wasn’t allowed to come back and work on the simulator. Either it was then, or they were very clever.
“But I think they more likely came up with the system at the end of the year, when I left.”
Ocon was sure however that Mercedes had proof-tested DAS in the simulator at Brackley.
“Without any doubt, they tested it in the simulator, as all parts go there before being run on track,” he contended.
Despite Red Bull Racing’s threats to protest the legality of Mercedes’ DAS ploy in Melbourne, Valtteri Bottas said before the opening race of the season was cancelled that the German outfit would likely run the system in Australia.
“It will be driver-dependent,” Bottas said at the time. “Especially at the race weekends and whichever situations we think we might get the benefit.
“It’s up to us to also explore and discover and find the best ways to use it. So, a nice little extra tool. Not that there were so many things to do anyway on the steering wheel…”
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