Formula 1 stewards and the FIA have rejected Red Bull's protest against Mercedes' use of its controversial Dual-axis Steering (DAS) system during free practice for the Austrian Grand Prix. 

After the FIA technical department carried out analysis of the Mercedes DAS system and relevant car parts, the protest was turned away with the Austrian GP stewards ruling "it is not founded."

It comes after Red Bull formally lodged a protest against the DAS system - which allows drivers to move the steering wheel back and forwards to adjust the toe angle of their front wheels - following Friday practice in Austria. 

Mercedes used the device on both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ W11 cars throughout the two free practice sessions for the 2020 season-opener at the Red Bull Ring

The German manufacturer was adamant DAS was legal having discussed it with the FIA before it caused a stir among its rivals by debuting the system during Barcelona pre-season testing in February. 

Mercedes’ rivals were known to be questioning the legality of DAS and Red Bull was understood to be planning a protest at the original season-opener in Australia before the race was cancelled. 

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner called for further clarification on Friday before the Milton Keynes squad made its protest official once the on-track action had concluded. 

Mercedes and Red Bull met with the FIA stewards in the Spielberg paddock at 7:10pm local time on Friday.

The stewards’ ruling cited an alleged breach of Articles 3.8 and 10.2.3 of the technical regulations, with the latter stating that “no adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion”. 

But in an FIA statement issued on Friday evening, it was concluded the notion was rejected after both parties were heard.

"At the hearing there were no objections against the composition of the Stewards panel or against the procedure of using a video conference call in addition to a face to face hearing," the statement read. 

"The parties set out oral arguments and addressed the questions asked by the Stewards. The FIA expert was interviewed and explained his written comments.

"At the hearing the parties referred to the documents submitted. None of the parties submitted further evidence or initiated the hearing of additional persons or conducting further investigations."

The stewards added that "the DAS system is physically and functionally a part of the steering system. As such, it benefits of the implicit exceptions to certain suspension regulations applicable to steering.

"The stewards consider DAS to be a legitimate part of the steering system and hence to satisfy the relevant regulations regarding suspension or aerodynamic influence." 

Mercedes can therefore keep using DAS for the rest of the season, but the system has already been outlawed by the FIA for the 2021 F1 season. 

Red Bull have a right to appeal the decision. 

 

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