Mercedes has warned of a dangerous team land grab by Formula 1's top outfits to collude on aerodynamic development if the FIA does not deliver clear guidelines after the Ferrari/Haas row.
The FIA stewards at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are due to deliver a verdict on Sunday about the rules relating to wind tunnel development, amid concerns that Ferrari has benefited from its partnership with Haas.
Mercedes wants a clear answer from the FIA about how much teams can collaborate on wind tunnel and CFD work, so it knows how much it can work with a partner from 2016.
But Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has warned that if the FIA says the current rules are satisfactory, then it will lead to the bigger outfits rushing to tie up partnerships with as many outfits as possible to help with future aerodynamic work
"This is the trigger of reorganising your structure to share ATR [aerodynamic testing restrictions] quota, to collaborate and educate personnel jointly and share infrastructure," said Wolff.
"And it would eventually lead to a situation where it could become an arms race of how many corporations or partners you could sign up in order to develop at a greater speed."
McLaren chief Ron Dennis has backed Wolff's fears of a nightmare scenario, suggesting F1 could be taken down an avenue that is not good if teams have to work together.
When asked for his thoughts about the matter, Dennis said: "I think every team would confirm that there are strenuous efforts going on to ensure that the regulations are written to ensure that it does not happen again.
"Otherwise we have to follow suit. No question – in different variants of it. And it is not the future for F1."
No Ferrari protest
Wolff has insisted that the issue with the FIA is purely about what Mercedes can do for 2016, and is not aimed at showing Ferrari acted in bad faith.