Formula One legend and Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda has denied Bernie Ecclestone’s claims that his team has an alliance with Ferrari.
F1 supremo Ecclestone had alleged that Mercedes has “helped Ferrari a bit technically”, adding: “it means they’re both rowing in the same boat.”
However, Lauda has denied the accusation, insisting it is merely the kind of arrangement that is replicated elsewhere throughout the paddock.
"Let's clear one thing," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport. "Ferrari are a rival to Mercedes, and one that we must always defeat.
"We aren't talking about an alliance. In terms of politics and on major issues there are similar interests that Honda and Renault also agree on."
The speculation was fuelled by Ferrari appointing former Lewis Hamilton engineer Jock Clear to their technical staff, and he is not believed to be the only person to have defected to Ferrari from Mercedes
Lauda, though, says the reports have been blown out of proportion by the press.
"Clear was responsible for Hamilton's car, but he has been out for 12 months," he explained. "That is a long time in Formula One.
"It isn't as big a deal as you and others have made it out to be. Ferrari have signed three people it's true but it happens. However things are very stable and we aren't worried."