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That Mercedes F1 whacky steering system

Well, a couple friends and I were scratching our brains on various ways Mercedes could have accomplished that wild, on-the-fly toe adjustment where the car appears to toe in pulling the steering wheel back, and toe out pushing the wheel forward.


I was overthinking this at first, then heard Scarborough suggest that maybe the entire rack was being moved with the steering column.

That’s when the light bulb went on. That has to be it! That’s the simplest solution, least amount of weight and modification, the rack itself doesn’t need to be anything special, it just needs to be movable.

So, I made a real fast, shitty sketch on how that would work. It can work one of two ways, but my sketch is making the assumption that the rack and thus the tie rods are in front of the steering axis.

Illustration for article titled That Mercedes F1 whacky steering system

So, at the top, this is driving down the straight with the steering column/rack pulled towards you. If the rack and tie rods are in front of the steering axis, you would need the rack to be behind the tie rod ends, so the tie rods are angled forwards now and this is pulling the wheels to be more straight.

Push the column and whole rack forwards to make the rack more inline with the tie rod ends and it will push the leading edges of the tires outwards (toe out) to get the improved handling.

The other way to go about this with the steering rack behind the steering axis, with the wheel pulled towards the driver, the tie rods would need to be more parallel with the rack to increase toe in. And when you push the rack forward, the tie rod ends are now behind the rack, the tie rods themselves angled backwards in relation to the rack, pulling the rear of the wheels closer together, and thus the front of the tires further away from eachother (toe out).

This is the what makes the most sense in my brain, it’s mechanically simple and doesn’t require a special steering rack, just requires a mounting point that can be moved by the driver by moving the steering column in a telescopic manner.


Pardon the imperfect drawing, but hopefully that gets the idea across.

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