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Toto Wolff has described as “nonsense” claims that Bernie Ecclestone, the FIA and Mercedes have helped Ferrari to be more competitive.

The claims were made this week by none other than former F1 supremo Ecclestone himself, who said all parties benefit from a Ferrari team that is at the front.

Christian Horner, the Red Bull team boss, called it the “usual Bernie thinking”.

“It’s very clear that there’s a very tight relationship between Ferrari and Mercedes,” he said. “The way they operate in meetings, one won’t lift the hand without the other one being in agreement these days.

“As for whether one has one has helped the other, I’d be surprised,” added Horner.

Wolff, though, called the comments a usual Ecclestone-brand “hand grenade”.

“Bernie is the only person who can throw a hand grenade from the other side of the world which lands in the paddock and explodes. I love his stories!” he said.

“I miss him stirring up meetings in this way but of course it’s completely nonsense,” the Mercedes team boss told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

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