Fernando Alonso: Mercedes DAS system 'sends message' to F1 rivals
Watch exclusive Sky Sports interview with Fernando Alonso below as he talks about his Indy 500 return with McLaren - and some of F1's big talking points, including the latest on his 2021 plans
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 26/02/20 12:52pm
Fernando Alonso believes the biggest significance of Mercedes' ingenious DAS wheel system is that it sends a message to their rivals that they are not letting up in pursuit of more F1 glory.
Speaking to Sky Sports as he announced his plans to return to the Indy 500 with McLaren in May, Alonso suggested that while the lap-time gain from the moving wheel may not be huge - the system underlined Mercedes' determination to stay ahead of the pack in 2020.
"Only they know for sure what it is doing to the car and what are the benefits that they are taking from that," said Alonso.
"But I guess that it's not a big, big factor. It's not like the DRS or the F-duct or something that gives you half a second or six tenths or four tenths.
"I think it's just a fine-tuning set-up [device]. It's more the potential and the demonstration that they give to everyone that they keep on top of the game and they don't relax, even if they are world champions.
"That's probably the biggest message that they send with this DAS system."
With the new Mercedes steering system and an innovative rear suspension catching the eye, the six-time world champions set the early pace in Barcelona testing last week.
Asked if Lewis Hamilton would win a record-equalling seventh title this year, Alonso replied: "I think so. Looking at the test it seems that Mercedes is still quite competitive and they show again enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to the next.
"Formula 1 is impossible to predict because many things happen in the season but as a starting point I think they are the favourites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential that they have they have to be No 1 favourite."