Jan.4 (GMM) Ferrari has reportedly made a bold bid to catch up in 2017 by designing a new suspension system, or have the Mercedes-pioneered concept banned by the FIA.
Germany's Auto Bild claims that for its 2017 car codenamed 668, Ferrari has come up with a Mercedes-like, hydraulically-networked chassis.
But before debuting it in late February, Ferrari "asked the FIA for clarification as to whether the (suspension) system is really legal".
"If not, Mercedes would have to remove it," said correspondent Bianca Garloff.
Ferrari is not commenting.
But the same news is being reported by Italy's authoritative La Gazzetta dello Sport, adding that Red Bull also ran the Mercedes-like layout last year.
And the newspaper said the FIA has responded to Ferrari's clarification request by telling the teams the Mercedes-like system is not allowed.
Correspondent Paolo Filisetti wrote: "The world championship will not begin for three months, but the technical skirmish between the top teams has already reached a high level."
The FIA's decision to ban the concept is reportedly because it varies the right-height of the car, not simply to act as traditional suspension but for aerodynamic effect.