Red Bull has confirmed Mercedes' exit from the group of seven teams seeking full disclosure from the FIA of its confidential agreement with Ferrari related to its 2019 power unit.
The FIA announced on February 28 that it had reached a settlement with Ferrari regarding the Scuderia's 2019 power unit and how it may have breached F1's technical regulations by circumventing fuel flow restrictions.
However, the sport's governing body chose not to disclose the terms of the settlement or any details related to its investigation of Ferrari's engine.
The secret deal enraged seven of Ferrari's competitors who united under the leadership of Mercedes to denounce the FIA's behavior. But the latter, through the voice of its president Jean Todt, forcefully responded to the group, justifying its agreement with Ferrari and its legal basis.
However, as Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, AlphaTauri and Williams prepared to take on the FIA, it emerged in Australia that Mercedes had backed out of any further action against the governing body and Ferrari.
It's believed that Mercedes' decision came directly from parent company Daimler, following a direct contact between chairman Ola Källenius and his Ferrari counterpart John Elkann.
"Mercedes is out of action at short notice," confirmed Red Bull's disappointed Helmut Marko, quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
However, Red Bull has picked up the ball and intends on running with it according to RBR team boss Christian Horner.
"The whole thing has left a bad taste," said Horner. "For us, it's about a lot of money.
"It makes a difference of $20 million whether we finish second or third in the world championship, and each of our employees has an additional bonus payment based on that.
"We cannot just leave it like that."
Indeed, if Ferrari is found guilty of breaching the technical rules last year and subsequently loses its points in the Constructors' championship, all teams would benefit financially by moving up a spot in the ranks.
Such a turn of events would also retroactively impact teams' entry fees for 2020 which are based on last year's points tally.
However, legal action against Ferrari is complicated by the teams' complete lack of evidence against the Scuderia; evidence which the FIA cannot supply despite its investigation and subsequent findings because of its confidentiality agreement with the House of Maranello.
But a source in the F1 paddock suggests the teams could potentially haul Ferrari in front of a civil court as a recourse action.
"Ferrari employees would have to swear their innocence," said the source, according to AMUS. "I doubt that they would risk committing perjury".
The saga continues...