Between the re-signing of Nico Rosberg's contract and Lewis Hamilton's admission that he pressured FIA race director Charlie Whiting over his team-mate's possible yellow-flag infringement during qualifying in Hungary, an interview was requested with Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff to allow him to comment on rumours that the company would withdraw from team ownership at the end of 2018.
The request was not granted, with the team stating: "Please feel free to say that the company declined the opportunity to comment on a story that it regards as very creative speculation!" However, investigating if there is any credibility to the speculation, a raft of factors indicate that Mercedes could exit F1 at the end of 2018 - if not totally, then as a team owner, with the engine operation continuing until the conclusion of the current technical regulations, which expire at the end of '20.
Intriguingly, no fewer than four vital Mercedes contracts expire during the 2017-19 period, with both drivers signed up to the end of '18. As a senior paddock figure pointed out in Budapest: "It is highly unusual among major teams for two driver contracts to expire simultaneously, particularly given that [Rosberg] pushed for a three-year deal, which would have taken him through to '19. Very strange."