Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says a Mercedes-style DAS system is “under evaluation” subject to verification from the FIA that it is legal.
The DAS system was used by Mercedes during first practice at the Austrian Grand Prix and has been introduced after lengthy discussions with the FIA.
Last month, Mercedes technical director James Allison revealed the FIA had rejected its initial lever-actuated design, but that the current version with the driver pulling back the steering wheel to adjust the toe settings on the straight was considered to be acceptable.
“It’s a very complicated system, obviously a lot of work is has gone into it so we’ve certainly looked at it,” said Horner when asked whether Red Bull is considering its own DAS.
“And like any component, it has to earn its place on the car for the penalty that it carries – whether that be weight or packaging etc.
“So it’s certainly something that subject to the verification would be under evaluation for the rest of this year.”
But Horner stressed he still has doubts about whether the system is legal given it exploits what he describes as “a fundamentally grey area”.
He confirmed that Red Bull is actively seeking clarifications from the FIA and that the answers of these will be key.
Although the FIA technical department has indicated to Mercedes that it considers the DAS system to be legal, this can be challenged through an official protests that will allow the stewards to make a definitive judgement.
Red Bull is particularly concerned about the DAS because for this year’s car it moved the steering gear and fluid reservoirs to behind the nose bulkhead, which means they are no longer aligned with the front suspension.
This means it is unlikely Red Bull would be able to adopt the DAS, particularly with restrictions on changes to the car introduced as a result of the new token system for upgrades with some components, including those related to the survival cell, frozen as of this weekend.
“It’s a very clever system and so all credit to the ingenuity behind it,” said Horner.
“But I think the fundamental question for us is does it comply with the regulations in what is a fundamentally grey area.
“So obviously we do want clarity on it because it does have an impact regarding the rest of this year.
“It’s something that’s been outlawed for next year but the question is, is it right for this year? So they are the questions that we’ll be asking of the FIA through the necessary channels.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he would welcome a clarification, stressing that he’s confident the DAS system is legal following the dialogue with the FIA.
But he also warned that he wanted this to be resolved without recourse to a post-race protest to avoid “a big debate” on Sunday evening.
“I respect Christian’s position, the clarification is always good,” said Wolff.
“We think we are on the right side. There was a lot of talking and exchange with the FIA. That is the reason why we have it on the car so we will both bring our arguments forward and then let’s see.”
He added: “Against what you might expect, all the teams are aware we’re in a sensitive situation with going racing, it’s the first race and I think alongside [that] it’s fair enough to seek clarification.
“On the other side we are aware that we don’t want to end up with a big debate on Sunday night.
“So I think Christian’s going to take the right actions.
“And controversy and different judgment on engineering innovation has always been part of Formula 1 and this is what’s to be expected in a way and it’s part of the race story.”