Sebastian Vettel took a keen interest in the Mercedes Dual-Axis Steering (DAS) wheel and feels it is a device which requires a lot of driver adaptability but if it provides a performance edge and is legal and safe with the FIA then it could be the way forward.

The Ferrari driver joined the rest of the F1 paddock in taking an eager eye to the unusual Mercedes steering wheel movements, with Lewis Hamilton appearing to pull the wheel towards him on the straights before pushing it back to its original position under braking.

The device appears to trigger a wheel movement, changing the angle of the front wheels, which Mercedes technical director James Allison described as a Dual-Axis Steering system as he aimed to stay tight-lipped on its purpose and functionality.

Vettel says he enjoyed the novelty factor of seeing the steering wheel move when watching the onboard footage during the lunch break and is curious to see how the device effects performance.

“I have seen it and we talked about it at lunch and it looks interesting,” Vettel said. “I guess the fact that they are running with it means that it is legal.

“I don’t know, it is called a steering wheel not a push or pull wheel.

“I don’t know if it works, I guess there is quite a lot of work to bring it to the track it is probably not as easy as it looks for the driver to work with it. But we will see. For sure it was a novelty for us to see.

“We are lucky that we have the onboards here otherwise maybe we wouldn’t spot it. These things are never easy but I also guess it is not easy to operate, I think it is quite weird to have the feeling of having the wheel in your hands.

“Imagine you are used to running with running shoes and then you are asked to run with your flip flops. You can do that but it feels very different. Obviously it is not that extreme but it is just that you add something that is completely new and it feels strange and weird at first.”

Despite his concerns, Vettel believes if the device is deemed safe to use by the FIA and delivers a performance edge it could become a tool all F1 teams will need to focus on.

“If it gives you an advantage or edge then you can fulfil the task and you have the capacity to do it with enough practice. I don’t know if they will run it, they will try but it is too early to tell.

“From a driving point of view it looks easy to push and pull the steering wheel but it is probably not as straightforward but we can get used to it.

“If it is faster then there is no concern as you go for the faster option. We had the F-Duct 10 or 12 years ago and we drove around with one hand on most of the track so that wasn’t safe but it was fast so you do what you are pushed to do but that is why we have the FIA to look after us to make sure things make sense and we have got our hands on the wheel.”

 

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