Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has claimed this year's F1 title fight is currently operating "on all levels", with the off-track battle as intense as the one on it.
Championship squabbles in the past have normally been centred on two drivers as the protagonists, but this season Wolff and Red Bull rival Christian Horner have often stepped into the spotlight and overshadowed Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
It has led to an increase in the intensity between the two teams that head into the final two races of a mesmerising season in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi separated by just five points in the constructors' championship.
With Verstappen leading Hamilton by only eight, Wolff said: "The fight happens on all levels - political, sporting, technical. That’s clear.
"Whoever wins the championships at the end of the year, drivers' and constructors', merits the win because it has been on a very high level."
Horner 'encouraged' ahead of Saudi showdown
While Wolff and Horner have verbally sparred throughout the campaign, above all the latter is glad to be in the thick of the action again for the first time in seven years.
"It's going to be tight," said Horner. "The next track should arguably favour Mercedes. Abu Dhabi, with the modifications made there, who knows.
"It's been incredibly tight. We go into these last two races eight points in the lead in the drivers' championship, we've reduced the lead in the constructors' to five points.
"So both are fully in play, and that's fantastic because now we're at the climax of this world championship."
Despite Horner's suggestion of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit favouring Mercedes, he at least feels more confident in light of what unfolded regarding his rival's rear wing in Qatar.
After complaining bitterly about the straight-line speed of the W12 in the São Paulo Grand Prix, and threatening a protest, load tests were introduced post-qualifying in Qatar which led to a more even contest in the race at the Losail International Circuit.
"We saw in the race the straight-line speeds were virtually line on line," remarked Horner. "It's the first time we've seen that for many races, so that's encouraging."
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