Mercedes stunned the F1 world during winter testing when onboard footage showed their drivers moving the steering wheel forward and back on straights as they tried their innovative ‘Dual-Axis Steering’ system.
Esteban Ocon, who joined Renault after spending a year as Mercedes reserve driver in 2019, confessed in an interview with French channel Canal+ that he didn’t have a clue that Mercedes was developing DAS.
"Guess what, I didn't! I swear I didn't.
"Either they were very, very clever and didn't show me the effect of the system or they came up with it very late and designed it once I was gone, once I was stuck between Renault and Mercedes.
"After the end of the season, I wasn't allowed to go back to the factory, I wasn't allowed to come back and work on the simulator. Either it was then or they were very clever.
"But I think they more likely came up with the system at the end of the year, when I left."
Ocon is in no doubt that Mercedes would have tried it on their simulator before it hit the track at testing in Barcelona.
‘’Without a doubt, they tested it on the simulator, as all parts go there before being run on track.’’
George Russell, Mercedes junior and the reserve driver for the team in 2018, admitted last month that DAS is ‘’just the tip of the iceberg’’ when it comes to innovations at Mercedes.
“I’ve been part of that team for a long time. I saw what they were up to prior to when I joined Williams and it’s incredible the things those guys are doing. They’ve got loads of things in the car just like that but we can’t see to the naked eye.
So when I saw it I was like, wow, you guys are making us all look a bit silly at the moment. It’s incredible and I think they’ll be unstoppable this year.”