World Champion Lewis Hamilton was seen with a new steering mode on his latest Mercedes W11 during testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this morning, and it’s safe to say it has raised eyebrows.
Images from the testing revealed the steering wheel to move towards him on the straights and then back again on the entry corners.
The mode also appears to adjust the toe of the front of the wheel while the car is moving.
This supposedly will help the Mercedes car in turns and minimise drag on the straights, potentially offering them a straight-line speed boost.
The German team have subsequently revealed the system is called ‘steering mode’ and it is currently being evaluated during the pre-season testing, although no further explanation has been provided.
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The latest Formula One rules regarding suspension and steering are believed to be very specific and clear in regards to what the teams can and cannot do.
Article 10.2.3 is explicit that any adjustment to the suspension system can only be made when the car is stationary.
“No adjustment may be made to any suspension system while the car is in motion,” it states.
While, article 10.2.2 states: “Any powered device which is capable of altering the configuration or affecting the performance of any part of any suspension system is forbidden.”
Without knowing how the mode operates, it is as of yet unclear if Mercedes have breached any of the above regulations.
F1 also clearly state any power steering system can only help minimise the effort that the driver needs to put in to steer the car.
It is certainly clear the Constructors’ Championship winners are looking to test the limits to the maximum with the season opener in Australia, Melbourne in just over three weeks time.