Mercedes cop stunning ban for 2021 F1 season

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Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton is pictured in a 50/50 image, next to a shot of the cockpit of his F1 car.
The Mercedes F1 team have been banned from utilising the innovative 'DAS' system they revealed during winter testing in Barcelona in February. Pictures: Getty Images/F1

Formula One world champions Mercedes will not be allowed to use their innovative steering system next year even though the cars are staying the same, the governing FIA says.

The dual-axis system (DAS) allows a driver to change the 'toe angle' of the front wheels by pushing and pulling on the steering wheel, rather than just moving it sideways.

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Mercedes have yet to race with DAS since the championship is on hold until at least the European summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The system would have been barred under a major overhaul of the technical regulations planned for 2021 but that has been postponed to 2022 to save costs for teams facing a loss of revenue.

The decision to ban it anyway will save money for rivals who might otherwise have had to design their own systems if it gave Mercedes a competitive advantage once racing resumes.

The governing body said its World Motor Sport Council had also confirmed by e-vote changes to streamline and speed up decision making in response to the global spread of the virus.

Measures included granting a delegation of authority to FIA president Jean Todt and allowing the body and Formula One's commercial rights holder Liberty Media to change the calendar without requiring a vote.

Formula One plans a reduced 15-18 race season, with two rounds cancelled so far and six more to be rescheduled.

More races look sure to be postponed -- with Canada, France, Austria and Britain looking like the next dominoes to tumble -- creating a fixture headache in a season that could run into January.

F1 voting regulations changes to add flexibility amid pandemic

Formula One chairman Chase Carey has already indicated that the revised calendar will look very different to what was previously published.

"Changes for the 2020 Sporting Regulations have been approved in order to give flexibility to the FIA and Formula One to react to the crisis and organise a race calendar that best safeguards the commercial value of the championship and contains costs as much as possible," the FIA said.

Certain articles can now also be changed with 60 per cent support of the 10 teams, rather than the unanimous agreement needed previously.

There could also be changes to the number of power unit elements allowed without incurring a penalty.

If the championship drops to less than 14 races, the power unit allocation is cut to two per driver per season. Fewer than 11 races would allow only one battery and electronics control unit for the season.

The teams are also banned from any aerodynamic development in 2020 for 2022, another cost saving measure.

There is also a provision to extend the current factory shutdown "in the event that public health concerns or government restrictions continue".

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