Mercedes wanted reigning world champions Red Bull to serve a three-race ban for appealing against its Melbourne disqualification.
Earlier rumours in the Shanghai paddock had hinted at Mercedes’ push for a ban, after Dr Helmut Marko said he was surprised by the “aggressiveness” with which Mercedes argued at the Paris appeal on Monday. Although McLaren, Lotus, Williams and Force India also attended the appeal hearing, none of them “submitted any written observations, and none took any active part in the hearing”.
The information emerged officially late on Friday, as F1’s governing body revealed the full text of its decision to reject Red Bull’s appeal. Mercedes, on the other hand, did indeed play an active and forceful role in Paris, the carmaker’s lawyer saying Red Bull actually deserves “a more severe sanction”.
It was believed Mercedes only wanted a suspended further penalty for Red Bull, but in fact it argued in writing that the court should ban the reigning world champions for “no less than three races”. On top of the race ban, Mercedes called for “a disqualification for a further six months, suspended for a year”.
Bild newspaper said Mercedes’ tough stance might be viewed in the context of 2013, when Red Bull attacked the Brackley team when the ‘secret’ Pirelli tyre test was revealed. “Was this the Silver Arrows’ revenge?” wondered correspondents Nicola Pohl and Lennart Wermke. Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda on Saturday tried to ease any bad feeling between the two camps by delivering a chocolate cake to the Red Bull hospitality area. “I personally brought them an Austrian Sachertorte,” he told German television RTL. “It was just a nice gesture.”