Mercedes could be hampered in its fight against Ferrari because it does not have the historic clout – nor the willingness to push the limit of Formula 1's rules – as its Italian rival, claims motorsport boss Toto Wolff.
Ferrari has made no secret of its ambitions to go for the world championship next year and showed last winter – in challenging the FIA over engine token development rules – that it is ready to do all it can to boost its chances.
This year it has also got embroiled in controversy over its aerodynamic alliance with Haas, even though it was cleared of any wrongdoing by the FIA, and was also the target of fuel flow complaints from rivals earlier in the season.
Ahead of what looks set to be an intense title fight between Mercedes and Ferrari in 2016, Wolff concedes that the fact his company has a corporate culture of operating well within the regulations means it may face a tougher time.
"Because we are Mercedes, we operate in a safe environment – but with a very competitive and dynamic philosophy," Wolff told Motorsport.com.
"We are not Ferrari, and we haven't been in the sport forever. Therefore, sometimes the way that you tackle regulations, or how you interpret regulations, can give you an advantage.
"This is why we believe that this is definitely sometimes a factor that disadvantages us. But that is how it is. That is okay."
With Mercedes coming under political pressure this year amid claims that its dominance is hurting F1, Wolff said a tougher challenge from Ferrari in 2016 would actually be a good thing.
But, he made it clear, it was not something his team could - or should - do anything to help happen.
"Yes, definitely," he said when asked if he would welcome a bigger push from Ferrari. "But this is a sport, and it is not wrestling. You cannot design a script and then act accordingly.
"It is a sport about the stop watch and the stop watch never lies. If you do a good job you are quick, you are winning races, and you are winning championships. If you are not you are not.
"So for the benefit of F1, we can wish for a more close competition – and with Ferrari as our best 'frenemy' – that certainly would spice up F1. But it is not our agenda.
"We are not the commercial rights holder, we are not selling advertising. We are not responsible for the narrative of the television pictures.
"We certainly consider them, but our objective and the reason for us being in our current roles is that we need to win – and win races and win championships."