The Mercedes Grand Prix racing team reacted angrily to suggestions that they have transgressed Formula One’s self-imposed spending cap.
According to paddock sources, the teams have scheduled a meeting at this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix to make sure all teams are abiding by the so-called Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA).
The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) is understood to have planned to meet on Sunday, with grumbling discontent about the agreement high on the agenda.
After similar rumours about Red Bull, Mercedes hit out late on Thursday and strongly rejected suggestions they are overspending after a period of investment in the team staff.
Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug said: “We are well inside the limit, absolutely. No doubt. We were not at the limit before and we still are taking it very seriously.
“We don’t know if all people are acting in the same way, but we are 100 percent within the RRA.
“We were one of the prime movers for that concept and really are living with it. This is the basis for Mercedes Benz for the future. We want to have decent limits and not spending money unnecessarily.”
But Haug added that teams were making different interpretations about the rule and said at least one outfit was “probably not on the same page”.
“I do not think that the interpretation is the same in each and every place, but it is mostly the same,” he said.
“Having said that, I am not a specialist — I am just not running the operation. I am not involved and I absolutely can stress that we are well inside the limits, and we will be.
“If people are questioning it, they should question us. If they are questioning the hiring of two engineers – are they inside or outside (the RRA)? They are inside.
“I think this is an ongoing business. They have I think a very constructive approach and I do not want to go into detail about which team is just probably not on the same page. But most of the teams are.”
Haug’s comments follow those made in Japan last weekend by Ferrari team chief Stefano Domenicali, who stressed the importance of the agreement for the sport’s stability.
“I think that it is a subject that is quite sensitive,” Domenicali said.
“It is a subject where we need to make a final clarification because, at the end of the day, the RRA was very important to keep the level of expenditure as low as possible.
“It should not become a performance differentiator so that you are able to do something that some others are not able to do.”