It’s the name of the game that the top team is the most scrutinized. In 2011 and beyond, the focus has been on RedBull. Then on Mercedes, though i think what helped Mercedes in 2014 and beyond, is that the whole power units were rather new and complex, so many simply accepted that Mercedes did the best job while all others struggled with power and reliability. Fast forward to 2017 and 2018 and these power units are better understood from regulators to competitors. The power gap has narrowed. This has also happened due to the scrutineering that has been going on, and lots of it can probably be traced down to oil burning, in other words oil additives. The FIA has clamped down in these areas, significantly. We have the 0.6l/100km limit, but also that only one spec of oil can now be used across the weekend. If suddenly Ferrari seems to have a stronger power unit, you can bet that Mercedes is working over time to figure out how.
Obviously with the smoke surrounding the Ferraris at start up and other tells, it seems there are still loopholes within the oil regulations that can be exploited. Certainly they did a good job, their pace is real. If it is through loopholes or not, is up to the FIA to determine. If they are, it’s either deemed legal upon which others will start doing it, or it wont, and Ferrari will have to stop. If rules have been broken, maybe there may even be consequences, but with Ferraris level of sudden cooperation, my feeling is they wont.
Not for nothing, Rosberg's Championship is the only thing that lends credibility to Hamilton's recent success. Otherwise, he'd just be the guy who's had the best car. (Ask the average Vettel fan what that's like.) --- bhall II