Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says it’s dual-axis steering (DAS) system isn’t a “silver bullet” in terms of performance with its 2020 Formula 1 car.
On Friday, F1 governing body the FIA passed the DAS system as legal following a protest by Red Bull, and the Brackley team is now free to use the device it first debuted in winter testing for the rest of the season.
However, it has been outlawed for 2021 by a regulation change.
Wolff insists the benefits of DAS could not be compared with the clear advantage provided by the double diffuser introduced by his team – under its then identity of Brawn GP – back in 2009, claiming steps in performance now come simply from “marginal gains”.
“I think in F1 people are always interested in technical innovation and describing what seems to be a silver bullet, that could potentially be a game changer,” said Wolff.
“The last time I saw such a thing was the double diffuser, but since then it’s more about the marginal gains, adding performance parts, and in a similar way DAS is a great innovation.
“It adds a new dimension to the steering, and will hopefully over its development period add some performance.
“But today you wouldn’t be able to say this has changed the game for us. I don’t want to go into the specifics.
“It’s great innovation, the idea behind it is fantastic, and I love that fact if it us or another team that comes up with new ideas.”
Asked by Autosport if he was pleased that Red Bull chose not to compromise the first grand prix of the season by protesting on Friday – rather than after qualifying or the race – Wolff was keen to compliment his rivals.
“The system is so innovative that is fair enough that clarification is being sought,” he said.
“I must say it was fair play from Red Bull to seek that clarification by a protest on Friday and not on Sunday night.
“I think it would have been detrimental for F1 to go back to the first race, have a result on track, then a protest, and it wouldn’t be clear who has won.
“I like the sportsmanship of the decision. And it’s absolutely OK to protest, I think we would have done it the other way around too.
“I’m happy that the FIA has been very consistent with their verdict.
“We’ve obviously had a lot of conversations with them, we didn’t want to run something that they would deem to be over the line, and therefore the outcome reflects the changes and opinions that we’ve had with the FIA over the last few months.”