Mercedes: Oil burning controversy blown out of proportion

Tech Corner: Is Mercedes gaining an oil-burning advantage? (3:38)

Sam Collins joins Jennie Gow to explain how Mercedes may be pushing F1's oil-burning regulations to the limit. (3:38)

MONZA, Italy -- Toto Wolff says too much has been made of his team's engine upgrade at the Belgian Grand Prix and the fact it helped the team avoid a clampdown on oil burning.

Ahead of this weekend's race, motorsport's governing body the FIA confirmed that all engines introduced from Monza onwards will be limited to an oil consumption level of no more than 0.9 litres per 100 km. The news was significant as it followed the introduction of Mercedes' fourth engine of the season last week at Spa-Francorchamps, which will be allowed to run at a limit of 1.2 litres per 100 km or less, while title rival's Ferrari's next upgrade will be subjected to the 0.9 litre restriction.

The FIA upped its monitoring of oil consumption in the months before the summer break and ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix told teams of the upcoming clampdown scheduled for Monza, meaning all four manufacturers could have used the subsequent weeks to introduce an engine upgrade of their own. Red Bull was the team to initially raise the issue with the FIA and remains convinced any team burning oil as fuel will have found a clear performance gain over its rivals.

There have been suggestions Mercedes rushed through its fourth engine upgrade earlier than planned to capitalise on the loophole before it was closed, something Toto Wolff categorically denied on Friday afternoon.

"I think it was completely blown out of proportion," said when asked about the team's latest upgrade at the Friday press conference. "The reasons we have introduced it early was in order to bring some performance to the track with the risk of having to do many races until the end of the season -- more races than our direct competitors, number one.

"Number two, you lack time for further development, the longer you wait for the last introduction of the engine the more you can probably add the upgrade, so these are the reasons we have boarded and not in order to extract a performance advantage out of the capability of burning more oil. So if you asked the FIA you will be quite interested what the results are and they are pretty much all the same. I don't know where the rumour came and it was never anything that was ever a problem or discussion among us."

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene was seated alongside Wolff when the question was asked and was quick to downplay the issue.

"First of all we have no conflict," Arrivabene said. "I do not want to comment on this kind of thing. Mercedes has introduced early one engine that also has this advantages [for Ferrari] during the course of the season because you have no more development. This is the end of my comment."

Arrivabene does not believe Ferrari will be disadvantaged by not introducing an engine in Belgium and suggested introducing an upgrade at the scheduled time would have longer-term benefits for the team.

Asked why Ferrari did not copy Mercedes' lead and introrduce an upgrade in Belgium, Arrivabene said: "First of all we are not introducing power unit number four because of that reason, it has nothing to do with that. We had a plan at the beginning of the year and we would like to introduce the power unit number four at the right time with the right power. This is the answer, it has nothing to do with the oil consumption.