Formula 1: Mercedes laugh off claims it helped Ferrari with engine
Mercedes and Renault have denied claims by Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone that they helped Ferrari develop its successful 2017 engine.
Speaking to an Italian newspaper, Ecclestone suggested that Mercedes had helped Ferrari with its engine to ultimately make itself look better when it beat the Maranello team to Championship title glory.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team boss, suggested the comments were not so much a criticism of his team, rather a mischievous example of Ecclestone reminding the paddock of his influence
“He is the only one who is able to sit on the other side of the world and throw a hand grenade and it actually lands in the paddock,” said Wolff.
“And I like it. These stories are fantastic. I’ve missed them a little in the past.
“I’ve missed the hand grenades, and the pop-up meetings, and the crisis situation, and the divide and conquer.
“It is a good story.”
Renault boss, Cyril Abiteboul also rebuffed talk of a collaboration between Ferrari and Mercedes, saying that if it had happened, word would have leaked out by now.
“I think there has been a lot of speculation about that, but I think it is not a new story – it is an old story and I don’t think there is any leg [to it],” he said.
“When you look at every single thing that Mercedes is doing, I don’t see Mercedes doing that and in the world in which we are living, it is very difficult to keep a secret.
“We’ve seen, when there was a possible collaboration between Mercedes and Honda, it took a couple of days for everyone in the paddock to become aware of that.
“I would be surprised, and if it happened then they would have been super good at keeping a secret.”
The speculation that Mercedes and Ferrari have been colluding date back as far as 2015, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says a team recruiting staff from a rival is far different than sharing knowledge.
“I can’t comment on a translated interview from Bernie in Italian,” he said. It’s his opinion, he’s got his one.
“I think what he’s referring to, it’s the same as for the teams.
“When you sometimes poach somebody from another team – we all have heard of a few engineers leaving Mercedes to go to Ferrari a couple of years ago.
“That’s what I think he was referring to.”