MERC SNUB? F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been accused of ordering a television blackout of the Mercedes team at the Japanese GP. Image: AFP / Christof Stache
London, England - Rumours that Bernie Ecclestone ordered a 'TV blackout' of a team have resurfaced after Sunday's (September 27) Japanese GP.
The first time rumours of this nature began to swirl was in 2012, when spectators noticed that Force India was ignored by the FOM-controlled 'world feed' during qualifying for the controversial GP in Bahrain.
Ecclestone denied snubbing rumours
Force India had sat out a practice session over security fears in the troubled island Kingdom, but F1 supremo Ecclestone denied he deliberately snubbed the team as retribution.
Ecclestone said at the time: "Not at all."
The same sort of rumours then returned earlier in 2015, when Ferrari was reportedly having an off-track dispute with Ferrari.
One Italian commentator told viewers to "complain to FOM" because images of the red cars were rarely broadcasted.
Ecclestone, once again denying the claims, said: "Certainly on my part there was nothing."
Broadcaster apologised for TV snub
And the latest rumours began swirling during and after the Japanese GP, when viewers of the world feed noticed that as Mercedes raced to a one-two, the dominant Silver Arrows were conspicuously absent from the television.
Sky, the German television broadcaster, even apologised for the apparent snub.
The speculation suggests Ecclestone may be punishing or sending a message to the German giant, having refused to supply engines to Red Bull in.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told the British broadcaster Sky afterwards: "I don't know. I don't know."
Wolff admitted he also noticed that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's cars were rarely seen on the TV during the race.
F1 fans voiced their opinion of the apparent blackout on social media: