Mercedes non executive chairman Niki Lauda believes Red Bull paid too much for Max Verstappen's new three year contract.
The young Dutch driver and his father Jos, who looks after his affairs, expressed their frustrations on several occasions this season over Red Bull's reliability issues, or rather those of engine partner Renault.
Ultimately however, Verstappen renewed his allegiance to the Milton Keynes-based outfit in October for an additional three years.
It was believed the Dutch camp managed to push the driver's salary into the range of $25-35 million per year by holding talks with Mercedes, but Niki Lauda has revealed that the German manufacturer never spoke with Verstappen.
"We never made a proposal to Max," Lauda told Servus TV, with Helmut Marko sitting next to him.
"I have a good relationship with Helmut as we often talk and fly together. Today we talked about Verstappen and I told him that they could have saved a lot of money, since we never entered negotiations with him. We never talked to him about money."
Marko insists Red Bull is happy with the terms of the new contract signed by Verstappen, although he did admit the 20-year-old drove a hard bargain when it came to money.
"We shared with him our plans for the future, guaranteeing that by 2020 we will have the best people and good options for the engine.
"We went to the Honda base in Sakura and the infrastructure is incredible. This convinced him.
"He took advantage of the situation to get a raise in his money, but on this matter he is far from Vettel and Hamilton," Marko insisted.
"If he can win titles he will approach them, but we have good bonuses on top of a low base salary," he revealed.