Red Bull is investigating whether a fault in his chassis is causing Sebastian Vettel's 2014 trough.
Team boss Christian Horner says the reigning quadruple world champion is lacking the "feel" for the RB10, while others think the German is simply being outclassed by his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
Dr Helmut Marko, the champion of Vettel's career since his boyhood, has some other theories.
"When downshifting, Sebastian needs a stable rear for his special style of driving. With all the new systems, he doesn't have that yet," the Red Bull director said.
Austrian Marko tipped Vettel to eventually get it right.
"In 2012 it was the same, and by the time he was happy with the rear, he was unbeatable," he is quoted by Germany's Sport Bild.
However, there could be more to the story.
"We don't understand why Vettel's tyre wear was so much higher than Ricciardo's," Marko said, referring to the Chinese grand prix.
"We are now investigating whether his (Vettel's) chassis has a fault."
Marko said Red Bull's target is to eliminate a chassis flaw as the potential origin of the problem by giving the 26-year-old a brand new 'Suzie'.
"When a new one is ready, Vettel will get it," he confirmed.
If a chassis flaw is not the problem, however, Marko is not guaranteeing a quick fix to Vettel's troubles.
"This year is so complex that even the engineers don't understand everything," he said. "That makes it even harder for Seb to tune the car to his needs.
"But Sebastian is a perfectionist. He will tinker with it until he gets it right."
Mercedes wants rivals to win races in 2014 - Lauda
Niki Lauda hopes Mercedes' rivals do not make it too easy for the German marque in 2014.
So far this year, the dominant Brackley based team has easily won the opening four grands prix on the trot, having aced the all-new V6 turbo rules.
It evokes memories of Ferrari in 2004, when the Italian team won 15 of the 18 races, or 1988, when McLaren won every race but one.
However, a full season of victory clean-sweeps would be a new situation for F1, and Mercedes team chairman Lauda is not sure he would like to see it.
"We do not want to win all the races," he told the Swiss newspaper Blick. "It definitely wouldn't be good for formula one."
But Lauda acknowledged that he is proud of Mercedes' dominance so far in 2014.
"What we are going through now is the harvest of many months of work, particularly in the area of the turbo engine," he said.
"But we do not think the current situation is normal. Our opponents will certainly be getting stronger."
Red Bull tells rivals to 'shove Mercedes star'
Reigning world champions Red Bull have told Mercedes to "shove that three-pointed star".
Last week, Mercedes argued in Paris that rival Red Bull's appeal against the Melbourne disqualification actually deserved a three-race ban.
The FIA court did not agree, so to smooth the waters, Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda in China offered Red Bull a peace-offering in the form of a famous Austrian chocolate cake, a Sachertorte.
"He thinks everything is over with a cake," Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko hit back.
"I think the next time he wants to eat pasta with us, he should put on a bulletproof vest."
Marko is not the only unhappy bunny at Milton Keynes.
In an online column, the Red Bull 'spy' this week said Mercedes' push for a three-race ban was met with "a few pursed lips from our management".
"They've decided to rise above it and not comment," the spy added.
"But down here at the coalface you can be sure we're telling our mates in the next garage along where they can shove that three-pointed star."
F1 'must' look beyond Ecclestone era - Wolff
On the eve of a trial that could send Bernie Ecclestone to jail, formula one is having to look into its future.
If convicted of bribery in Munich, the F1 chief executive could even be jailed.
But if found guilty and not jailed, he would surely nonetheless fall foul of the sort of strict corporate compliance rules that groups like Mercedes parent Daimler adhere to.
"We hold ourselves to that (code of conduct) also," Mercedes' motor racing chief Toto Wolff said on Wednesday.
For the moment, Ecclestone is presumed innocent. But his predicament - with judges in two countries having already found he paid a bribe - is forcing F1 to look into its future.
"Of course we are thinking about the future of formula one," Austrian Wolff told the business newspaper Handelsblatt. "We have to.
"After Ecclestone there would be, I suspect, a management team (to run the sport)," he explained.
"It would be a normal management board, as per any other large company," Wolff added.
However, it has been rumoured that some of F1's most powerful participants - like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - might also push to take over the sport themselves.
Wolff insists: "Right now that is not on the agenda."
Lopez 'surprised' by Raikkonen struggle
Kimi Raikkonen's last team boss says he is "surprised" the Finn is struggling so much at the wheel of his new F1 car.
The 2007 world champion, who had returned to the sport with the Enstone team after a rallying sabbatical, switched to Ferrari for 2014 following a Lotus pay dispute.
But while Raikkonen was highly competitive at the wheel of his black and gold car, the 34-year-old has struggled notably for pace now that he is back in red.
Asked if Raikkonen's 2014 struggle has surprised him, Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez admitted: "Yes, definitely.
"With us he was a strong rider, so the gap is a bit surprising," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"But I also know how good Fernando (Alonso) is -- just imagine if he had had a Red Bull to himself for the past few years.
"But we also know how good Kimi is," Lopez continued. "It is a new team for him, and with Kimi a lot depends on what is happening around him.
"With us he was always fully comfortable, even though of course I cannot exactly know why things are not going right for him."
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