Martin Brundle believes that Mercedes never had a valid argument for leniency from the stewards after Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the Friday qualifying session in Brazil.
Hamilton's rear wing DRS (Drag Reduction System) was found to be marginally outside of the legal parameters, with one side of the rear wing opening up by 0.2 millimetres more than what was permitted.
Hamilton, having posted the fastest time, was thrown out of qualifying and forced to start Saturday's Sprint Qualifying race from the very back of the grid as a result.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff argued afterwards that the outfit should have been treated with more leniency by the stewards, as it was something that they could have repaired, had the issue been uncovered during the session rather than in scrutineering.
Wolff also argued that the imbalance in the rear wing actually led to a performance deficit, rather than a performance gain, an argument that held little sway for Brundle.
"In Formula 1, you can't have any grey areas or fudges on technical regulations, otherwise you get creep on standards and issues," Brundle wrote in his column for Sky Sports.
"Aston Martin found this out the hard way when missing just a little sample fuel at the end of the Hungarian GP - they were simply eliminated from the results. And the excuse that any transgression didn't affect on-track performance simply cuts no ice whatsoever under the regulations.
"Lewis comfortably took the top spot for the Sprint until he was disqualified for a rear wing measurement outside the rules. That wing remained confiscated for the rest of the weekend until the end of any appeal time allowance as secured evidence, and so it was difficult to know exactly why or how it came to transgress the template measurements."
Suspicions at Red Bull
Brundle pointed out that Red Bull have ongoing suspicions about the architecture of the Mercedes rear wing, and that the increasingly bitter sniping back and forth between the teams is indicative of the level of stress they're under at this point in the championship.
"Red Bull are convinced Mercedes are up to something with their rear wing," he went on to comment.
"Mercedes are indignantly wholly denying this. The FIA must have inspected Lewis' captive rear Merc wing to a high degree.
"It's getting down to the championship wire now with it all to play for, and it's becoming rather feisty and a little angry between the two teams and contending drivers on and off the track. And the FIA are referees in the middle catching the occasional punch."
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