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DAS protests not a complete surprise - Masi

DAS protests not a complete surprise - Masi

F1 News

DAS protests not a complete surprise - Masi

DAS protests not a complete surprise - Masi

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has said the Red Bull protest against Mercedes' DAS [Dual Axis Steering] system at the Austrian Grand Prix came as no surprise.

While accepting both the current and 2022 regulations may appear to restrict the ability of teams to think outside the box, Masi is of the opinion that this close governance will force teams to be more creative in deconstructing the rules.

“Their role is to pick it [the regulations] apart as best they can," Masi told the 'Beyond the Grid' podcast. "Does it necessarily promote closer racing? Probably not, but I still think there’s enough freedom, particularly in the way the 2022 regulations have been done.

"Yes, they’re a lot more restrictive, but there’s a level of freedom there for teams to still show their ingenuity and innovation.

"It’s a balance to be quite honest. It’s not an easy one way or the other. It’s a fine balance, but I’m quite hopeful and confident that the balance, the FIA and working with F1 and the support of the teams, have found the right balance for the new regulations."

The race director pointed to innovations such as the six-wheeled Tyrrell of 1976-'77, the Brabham fan car of '78, and the McLaren F-duct from 2010 as examples of the lateral thinking F1 is famous for.

Masi added the stewards 'still have a giggle' with former Brawn GP team principal turned FIA managing director motorsports Ross Brawn over the double diffuser from 2009 - the controvesial device becoming a must-have aerodynamic in 2009, the year Brawn achieved a championship double with his eponymous outfit.

The latest innovation, Mercedes' DAS, caused a stir at pre-season testing when it was first revealed.

Almost as soon as it was first spotted being used, questions were raised over the legality of the device.

Masi continued: "Pre-Melbourne there was obviously discussions happening that that may or may not occur. Paddock whispers are very loud and clear on a whole lot of areas, so until it actually happens, you don’t know.

"We were advised on Friday [in Austria], not long before it went through, that there was going to be a protest lodged regarding the DAS. The Stewards, as everyone saw, had a very long night, and, even introducing Zoom elements into a Stewards hearing because of restrictions on staff and so forth, and they made their decision."

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