Mercedes on Thursday introduced intrigue to Formula One testing with TV images showing Lewis Hamilton moving his car’s steering wheel forwards and backwards as he drove.
The mechanism appeared to alter the alignment of the front wheels, with the six-time world champion pulling the wheel toward him on the straights and pushing it back as he approached corners.
Technical director James Allison was coy about the details of a system he said was known within the team as “dual-axis steering.”
“It’s novel idea,” Allison told reporters at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. “It just introduces an extra dimension to the steering for the driver that we hope will be useful during the year.”
“Precisely how we use it, and why we use it, that’s something we prefer to keep to ourselves,” he added.
Mercedes are chasing their seventh successive title double this season, with Hamilton aiming to equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven drivers’ titles.
The team last year started with eight wins in a row, despite Ferrari having an impressively quick car in testing.
Testing is not bound by the same regulations as grand prix weekends, with teams sometimes trying out developments they might never race.
Asked whether Mercedes were worried governing body FIA might rule the device illegal, Allison said that they had been talking about it for some time, safety was not an issue and it was within the rules.
“This isn’t news to the FIA,” he said. “The rules are pretty clear about what is permitted on steering systems and I’m pretty confident that it matches all of those requirements.”
“I’m just pleased we’ve got it on the car, it seems to be usable and we’ll find out over the coming days how much benefit it brings us,” he added.
Hamilton said that he did not find it distracting and was encouraged to see his team were continuing to innovate to stay ahead of the game.
Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel said that the development had taken his team by surprise and they had discussed it over the lunch break.
“It’s called a steering wheel, not a push or pull wheel,” he said, while also questioning whether it was a “game changer” and whether Mercedes would actually race it.
“Maybe I’m underestimating, but I don’t think that this is the ticket to win,” the four-time champion said. “I think there are a lot more elements to building up a competitive car.”
“It’s an innovation and we will see whether it’s something that everyone has to pick up on or not,” he added.
Allison said that the steering wheel represented “only the tip of the iceberg of similar stuff” hidden out of sight across the car.
“Each of the new cars we bring to the track are festooned with innovation,” he said. “It’s just they are not always as obvious to you as a standalone system like this where you can see it with your own eyes.”
“One of the things that gives me massive pride from working at Mercedes is to be part of a team that doesn’t just turn the sausage [machine] handle each year,” he added.
DECREASED TENSION: The US players’ lawyers said that the soccer federation no longer disputes that the jobs of the women’s and men’s national teams require equal skill Women players suing the US Soccer Federation (USSF) said in in court documents filed on Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged that the jobs of male and female soccer players require equal skill. The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by the federation’s lawyers earlier last month provoked widespread outrage in saying that playing on the men’s national team required a higher level of skill based on speed and strength and carried greater responsibility. The fierce backlash — not only from the women players, but also from sponsors such as Coca-Cola —
A businessman who received millions of dollars for his work on Tokyo’s successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympic Games has said that he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan’s bid. Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive at the advertising agency Dentsu, was paid US$8.2 million by the committee that spearheaded Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games, financial records showed. Takahashi said the work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members such as Lamine Diack, the ex-Olympics powerbroker, and that he gave Diack gifts, including digital
If British industry succeeds in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, it would in part be thanks to the pioneering role played by Formula One (F1) racing teams in the country. Seven of F1’s 10 teams have joined forces with leading aerospace and engineering firms to ramp up production of ventilators, while Mercedes has also worked with medics and academics to produce an alternative breathing aid. Normally obsessed with improving the performance of cars that race at more than 320kph, the teams are stripping back lifesaving devices and using computer simulation to test whether more simplified models can be mass produced. The seven
BITING THE BULLET: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi said that top players would make contributions so that the club’s employees can collect 100 percent of their salary Three-quarters of Rugby Australia’s staff were temporarily laid off yesterday amid huge financial losses from the sport’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown, while Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that Barcelona’s players would take a 70 percent pay cut to ensure that the club’s other employees are paid. The cuts to rugby staff were “the toughest decision in the game’s history,” governing body CEO Raelene Castle said. “Although extremely painful, they are necessary to ensure ... we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild.” The sport has been hit hard by