Mercedes to unleash DAS steering at Australian Grand Prix

Melbourne (AFP) –


Mercedes will use their new Dual Axis Steering (DAS) system at the Australian Grand Prix as they seek an edge over their rivals at the season-opener, Valtteri Bottas said Thursday.

Although some rivals have raised questions about the device, which changes the angle of the front tyres by pushing and pulling on the steering wheel, Bottas said Mercedes would unleash it in Melbourne.

"For sure we will be DASing on some of the straights," said the Finn, who won last year's race in Melbourne.

"We are happy to have it in the car and hopefully it can give us an advantage, but we'll see."

Bottas set the fastest time at pre-season testing in Spain, in what could be an ominous sign for the chasing pack. Mercedes have won the last six F1 drivers' and constructors' world championships.

Governing body FIA has allowed Mercedes to use DAS this season, although it will be barred next year when a number of new regulations come into force.

Bottas had the perfect start to 2019 when he stunned teammate Lewis Hamilton to win in Melbourne by a massive 20.9 seconds, one of four wins last year.

He also excelled in pre-season testing, giving him hope he can compete with Hamilton, who won 11 races to clinch his sixth world title last year.

"I feel ready, there were no real question marks from testing on my side and as a driver you obviously want to make use of those limited kilometres you have to get comfortable with the car and the set up," Bottas said.

"I'm very happy, we're well prepped, personally as well. I've had really good preparations for the year and just now really keen to go."

Bottas, runner-up to Hamilton in the world championship last year, finished the two sessions of winter testing with the fastest overall time of 1:15.732, the only driver to dip below the 1min 16sec mark.

"It's all about trying to be at your absolute best level and pushing yourself even further and what it requires to get that kind of mindset, finding that spirit and attitude and freedom in the car mentally," he said.

"And finding consistency for that in a long season. That is the key. I believe I have learned a lot and can on average perform better than last year."