Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes there have been instances in F1's recent past when rule changes were implemented for the sole purpose of reining in the German outfit's dominance.
Mercedes enjoyed a successful start to its 2021 campaign in Bahrain, but the curtain raiser round at Sakhir also underscored how this year's reduction in downforce as imposed by F1's rules has taken away part of the Brackley's squad's edge while empowering Red Bull, its closest rival.
Last year, a technical directive published by the FIA ahead of the Italian GP banned the use of special engine modes in qualifying, a move Lewis Hamilton said at the time was done "to slow us down".
Wolff agrees that certain regulatory decisions point to an obvious bias against Mercedes.
"There are areas where I see bias against Mercedes," Wolff told The Race.
"And here in the group we discuss, is it a pure bias that somebody wants to just penalise us in a way which sometimes is triggered by other teams, or is this something that is really important for the sport?
"We have even accepted some of the biases, because we knew about them. We took the conscious decision to accept it.
"But then there are clear, obvious actions against the team with the only aim to hurt us. And I will be always fighting this."
As a man who puts integrity and honesty at the top of his values, despite a need to get his elbosw out now and then and play politics and to defend Mercedes' interests, Wolff insists on the importance of competing on "fair grounds".
However, in his view that requirement hasn't always been upheld by Mercedes' rivals, some of whom have permanently lost all credit in the Austrian's eyes, who took personally their lack of probity.
"It’s a competition that should be carried out on fair grounds," he said.
"And there are some that have lost my respect forever over the last few years - not [from] a particular incident - and others that I see through their manipulative, amateur Machiavellian behaviour.
"I see the smiles that have hatred or negativity towards us. And then there’s people within the industry that I respect a lot, and I have friendships with them.
"They try to do the best for the sport, whilst maintaining a neutral position to all teams," he continued.
"They don’t ask anybody to be biased to Mercedes, just to do the best for the sport because we all benefit from a good sport.
"We share the revenues and the better the show is the better the sport.
"That’s why, in a way, I take it personally because I want to protect the organisation. But on the other side, the case studies of individuals that are around the paddock, it’s just very interesting for me to see that.
“They speak about Formula 1 as a shark tank. Most of them are goldfishes that believe they are sharks. And there’s some baby sharks also."