Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has described Bernie Ecclestone's assertion that Ferrari and Mercedes has established a 'cartel' to prevent him from pushing through changes as 'simply ridiculous'.
Ecclestone has been staunchly critical of Ferrari and Mercedes in recent months, accusing them of developing a 'duopoly' in F1 to try and retain their current dominance and create a critical majority to stop him from enforcing new regulations, such as the proposed 'independent' customer engine supply.
Describing it as a 'cartel', Ecclestone boldly suggested it has contributed to the F1 being the worst it has ever been and that he wouldn't spend money to take his family to watch.
It's an accusation that Arrivabene condemns, saying Ferrari and Mercedes will always be serious rivals on track even if they retain a respectful relationship off it.
“I think this sort of a cartel is simply ridiculous because everybody is doing their job and they try to do their best and we are talking here about brands that have a long story,” he said. “They are not going to throw out of the window their story, their reputation for this comment.
“They don't deserve even one word. I have to say it is strange because with this word you have to be careful sometimes because if you are talking a bit more with somebody and you are going to dinner with Toto or Cyril are you a cartel? It is simply a dinner and no one wants to talk about having a cartel. It is simply ridiculous.”
It's a view shared by Mercedes F1 boss Wolff, playing down Ecclestone's comments as being simply good for a headline and to get his view across.
“I don't think there is any cartel around here. Bernie is always good for controversy and for throwing one in and if it were run like a cartel, we wouldn't be sitting here. Some of us are part of multi-national global companies and we take compliance very serious. It just causes headlines, but nothing else.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, meanwhile, is more sympathetic to a 'frustrated' Ecclestone's views, saying it is a reaction to the collective strength of the manufacturers.
“I think you can understand that Bernie is frustrated,” he said. “I think his comments are born out of frustration of being unable to influence change and you have got a dynamic in Formula One at the moment where the manufacturers collectively have a lot of strength and that is primarily through the technical regulations and the current situation regarding the power unit.
“I think Bernie's frustration as a promoter is that he can't influence that at this point in time. His comments have obviously come off the back of that.”