The 2017 Formula One season is shaping up as something of an anti-climax considering how intense the state of play was just after the midway point of the schedule.
With three races to spare, Mercedes collected their fourth consecutive constructors’ title at the US Grand Prix last weekend, courtesy of yet another Lewis Hamilton victory.
It was his ninth win of the campaign as he put himself 66 points clear of Sebastian Vettel and within touching distance of becoming the first Brit to win four world championships.
Hamilton has all but wrapped things up ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix this Sunday, needing only a fifth-place finish to get the job done.
One would think Mercedes could only cruise to the end of the season, though it seems Bernie Ecclestone has other ideas.
The former FIA chief executive yesterday accused the German team of helping Ferrari build their latest engine to make themselves look better when they win the title.
It’s certainly an intriguing allegation considering engineering staff often move between teams and one that left many eager to hear Mercedes’ response.
TOTO WOLFF RESPONDS
Toto Wolff has commented on Ecclestone’s remarks, saying: “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,” per motosport.com.
“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.”
While the current season is virtually over as a contest, Mercedes won’t welcome this talk of collusion within the competition as they to complete a clean sweep with a Hamilton triumph in Mexico.
But unfortunately for Wolff and his team, even the checkered flag of the final event in Dubai on November 26 is unlikely to mark the end of such negative chatter.
With a potential merry-go-round of driver changes looming, the off-season is set to be a frantic one.