Ferrari & Alonso don't see big benefit from DAS for Mercedes

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Ferrari and Fernando Alonso have downplayed the gains Mercedes will get from their new DAS system.

The Dual-Axis Steering innovation was a huge talking point when the reigning champions debuted it during the first week of pre-season testing.

Since then the hype has cooled somewhat and asked again about the system, which allows the driver to change the toe angle of the front tyres, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto claims it wasn't entirely revolutionary.

“The DAS system is something considered in the past but we didn’t design and develop it,” he explained.

“We believed it [would] not work well at least for our car and for our car concept."

The Italian team has not ruled out creating their own version, however, but after an initial question of legality was put to rest, now their decision will be based on the performance.

“We are looking at what the others are doing,” said Binotto. “At the moment [it’s] really a question mark, not sure we’ll develop it.

“We really think it’s difficult for us to judge, we don’t know the exact system but I’m pretty sure FIA will make the right judgment.”

Adding his view on DAS this week, speaking to Sky Sports, Alonso suggested the shock value DAS created could actually be bigger than its worth on track.

"Only they [Mercedes] know for sure what it is doing to the car and what are the benefits that they are taking from that," said the Spaniard.

"But I guess that it's not a big, big factor. It's not like the DRS or the F-duct or something that gives you half a second or six-tenths or four-tenths.

"I think it's just a fine-tuning set-up [device]. It's more the potential and the demonstration that they give to everyone that they keep on top of the game and they don't relax, even if they are world champions.

"That's probably the biggest message that they send with this DAS system."

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Mercedes though have continued to analyse the system to assess where it will be most useful in improving performance and the drivers are already accustomed to the action of moving the steering wheel towards them.

“It all goes pretty smoothly and it’s nice to feel like everything goes pretty automatically without too much thinking about it," Valtteri Bottas said.

“With all the simulation and simulation tools and all the data for sure we can find ways that we think in theory will be the best, but also it will be driver-dependent, especially at the race weekend, the kind of situations we think might get a benefit.

“In the end we’re the only one who can use it. We have some guidelines but it’s up to us to also explore and discover and find the best ways to use it. So it’s a nice little extra tool – not that there weren’t so many things to do anyway on the steering wheel!”

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