Mercedes confirm the FIA is aware of new steering device seen in testing

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Mercedes technical director James Allison says the team has little concern about the legality of a new steering device being tested in Barcelona.

On Wednesday, onboards from the W11, driven by Lewis Hamilton, showed the Briton pulling the steering wheel towards him at the start of a straight which had the effect of pulling in the toe angle of the front tyres.

As he began braking, the wheel then returned to its normal position and the natural 'toe-out' which Formula 1 cars run was restored.

The benefits from such a device are multiple, from helping better control front tyre wear to reducing drag down the straight and thus increasing top speed.

However, immediately it raised questions over whether the device breached suspension regulations which state "no adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion" and also prohibit the use of powered devices that "alter the configuration or affect the performance of any part of any suspension system".

Speaking to the assembled media in Barcelona though, Allison said the team was happy the innovation met the regulations.

“Not really,” he was quoted by RaceFans when asked if Mercedes had any legality worries.

“This isn’t news to the FIA. It’s something we have been talking to them about for some time. The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems.”

As for its true purpose, the Briton was also coy.

“I probably won’t shed a great deal more light than what you saw on the TV,” he said. “But we have a system in the car, it’s a novel idea.

"We’ve got a name for it, it’s called DAS, and it just introduces an extra dimension for steering for the driver we’re hoping will be useful during the year.

“But precisely how we use it, where we use it, that’s something we’ll keep to ourselves," he concluded.

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Asked for his view on the device, Hamilton added: "Safety-wise, there were no problems.

"The FIA are OK with the project. For me, it's really encouraging to see that my team is continuing to innovate and stay ahead of the game.

"I think that's just down to the great minds that we have working in this team. Hopefully it will work.

“I’ve only had one morning with it so I don’t have a lot to really talk about it,” he added. “We’re just trying to get on top of it, and understand it.”

It will be interesting to see what Mercedes' rivals make of this when they speak later on.

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