Mercedes and Ferrari are ruining Formula One and the sooner they quit the sport the better, according to former world champion Damon Hill.
Silver Arrows team boss Toto Wolff warned this week that the prospect of a breakaway championship was a realistic one, while Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne is reported to have already held talks to that end.
Threats over a rival competition come as new F1 owners Liberty Media attempt to shape the future of the sport beyond the existing Concorde Agreement – the deal that covers the terms by which the teams compete, which expires in 2020 – and are thought to centre largely on the distribution of prize money and plans for simpler engines.
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But Hill, who won the 1996 championship with Williams, has hit back at two of F1's biggest superpowers, who have won 20 constructors' titles between them, suggesting the sport would be better off without them.
"The sooner Mercedes and Ferrari break away the better as far as I'm concerned," Hill tweeted.
"These massive industrial complexes are ruining the sport.
"They don't want to play. They want it all, and all the time.
"The FIA have lost grip of F1."
Mercedes hit back, replying: "'Massive industrial complexes ruining the sport.'
"We don't remember you complaining when you were winning all those races with top of the line Renault power, Damon."
But Hill stressed the difference between his own situation, as part of a successful independent team, and that of F1's current dominant manufacturers.
"Er... I was in a Williams. Those disgusting garagiste upstarts. Remember?" he added.
"And actually, I was acutely embarrassed that I won so much. Shame on me."