Long-time European Formula 3 championship leader Dan Ticktum has questioned the sudden dominance by Mick Schumacher after he took two wins and stormed clear in the standings last weekend in Austria.
The Red Bull junior was leading by over 100 points at one stage this season but five consecutive wins, including a clean sweep at the Nurburgring and the first two races at the Red Bull Ring have seen Schumacher take a 49-point advantage into the final three races to come at Hockenheim.
Ticktum, who is the running for a seat at Toro Rosso in F1 next year, needs the F3 title to qualify for a superlicence and made the since-deleted claims of a conspiracy on Instagram.
"Not ideal is the best way I can describe the weekend here in Austria," he wrote having finished eighth, 17th and fourth over the three rounds in Spielberg.
"I don’t like pointing fingers at anyone but to be honest, this weekend the pace in the car was not there. However, compared to the top two, no-one on this grid had a chance.
"Even their other teammates who are good drivers were nowhere compared to them. Interesting is how I would describe their pace and I am confident many people in the F3 paddock will agree."
Though later insisting he was not suggesting Schumacher's Prema team are running an illegal car, the 19-year-old suggested there was a "special engine mode or something" Mick was running.
Ticktum also refuted comments by followers of being a "sore loser" or "salty", adding: "I have a huge respect for Mick who has dealt with a lot in the past few years. I am simply suggesting that it seems to have come from nowhere.
"I appreciate I have lessons to learn still. I’m not denying that. You don’t know the real story because you are not at the track looking at everyone’s data. So I’m afraid I have to tell you that your opinion is invalid under these circumstances.
"I’ll say it only once more unless you have something constructive to say, leave your useless, all thought comments off my page as they have no evidence to ratify the truth. If you want to talk to me, DM me, as I can answer your questions if you may have some!
"Unfortunately, however, I am fighting a losing battle as my last name is not Schumacher."
Perhaps showing greater maturity in response, Schumacher kept his response short and to the point.
“I do not listen to something like that. The car is terrific to drive. We’ve evolved as a team, while others may have stopped at one point," he told Speed Week.
“I wish him good luck that he stays in the title fight. But I focus on myself, that’s my key.
“Everyone evolves during the year. We never stop working and learning. After my win at Spa, it was not easy, but we managed to be consistent, especially in qualifying, with good lap times.”
Lewis Hamilton will finish his F1 career
Mercedes' Toto Wolff hints at Red Bull t
Daniel Ricciardo joining Renault a year
McLaren & Williams failing because of th
Sergio Perez reveals why he snubbed oppo
Stefano Domenicali linked with Ferrari r
Mercedes boss recalls 'amazing' first me
Max Verstappen now faster than Daniel Ri
Pirelli unfazed by 2021 F1 uncertainty b
McLaren taking measures to improve relia
Esteban Ocon issue simple 2020 F1 ultima
Toro Rosso's 2019 car the first to pass
Max Verstappen enjoys 'constructive' day
McLaren sure Fernando Alonso exit won't
Sergio Perez: Racing Point the best team
Haas still has to 'earn the respect' of
Carlos Sainz already looking for long-te
Formula 1 star Pierre Gasly to partner L
Vietnam's F1 circuit developed using fir
Hockenheim & Monza proved 'things weren'
Honda defiant over claims of setbacks wi
Daniel Ricciardo will boost Renault but
Mick Schumacher knows rushing to F1 woul
Nico Rosberg names one quality Hamilton
McLaren appoint ex-Porsche WEC chief And
Williams: Robert Kubica a 'proper driver
Canadian GP promoter excited by Stroll/P
Ross Brawn: McLaren & Williams 'great te
Michael Schumacher pushed Mercedes to go
Esteban Ocon tips Racing Point to close
Mattia Binotto must deliver championship
Toro Rosso's Franz Tost has simple cure
UPDATED: Pneumonia not the cause for Nik
Sauber set their target after 'pushing l
Romain Grosjean: Haas 'scaring' Renault
Charles Leclerc a future star but 2019 n
Is the opposition to Hamilton/Schumacher
Hitech GP add Dan Ticktum and Pavan Ravi
Sebastian Vettel plays down loss of deve
Charles Leclerc responds to Hamilton nam
Honda bringing Red Bull 'in the region'
Renault obliged to prevent Daniel Riccia
Ferrari confirm Maurizio Arrivabene's de
Valtteri Bottas sees positive outlook fo
Haas wary of 2019 F1 regulations but Wil
Ross Brawn admits growing 'impatience' a
Mercedes hoping potential to match Ferra
Sauber considering shakedown of 2019 car
McLaren sure Liberty will address rise o
Arrivabene out, Binotto promoted to team
Niki Lauda back in hospital after contra
Honda facing two significant problems ah
Williams chief Lowe reveals Ross Brawn's
Mercedes tells Valtteri Bottas what is r
Honda sees great benefit from increased
Lawrence Stroll reveals main reason for
Robert Kubica admits saying no to Ferrar
Nico Hulkenberg: The key area Ricciardo
Kimi Raikkonen not making Sauber predict
Lewis Hamilton never asked for Sochi tea
George Russell: The McLaren decision tha
Jean-Eric Vergne offers his prediction o
McLaren call on Liberty to ignore opposi
Daniel Ricciardo: Verstappen set for 'gr
Michael Schumacher a 'founding father' o
McLaren won't jump to early conclusions
Robert Kubica puts expectations in check
Michael Schumacher's ex-manager explains
Barrichello: The trait Charles Leclerc m
Vasseur: A 'spiral' of events attracted
Michael Schumacher's family reassure fan
Wolff: How 2016 tension led to current H
Kevin Magnussen considers Grosjean his f
Five things to get excited about in F1 2
Kimi Raikkonen sure Ferrari will achieve
McLaren hoping to secure arrival of key
Toro Rosso's eye-watering cost of crash
Daniel Ricciardo reveals Mercedes talks
Charles Leclerc admits one thing stopped
Fernando Alonso: Why Schumacher was my g
Hamilton showed an ability in 2018 only
Verstappen: The three words Ocon said af
Mercedes/Ferrari relationship 'difficult
Red Bull: Developing Honda relationship
Watching Bottas give up victory in Sochi
Racing Point reveal the biggest challeng
Red Bull admit Verstappen was 'probably'
Russell can make same impact as Leclerc
Verstappen digs at Hamilton: It's very e
Mercedes respond after more claims of an
Renault wants to win in F1 but 'at a rea
Brown expects continued McLaren support
Ocon satisfied he met Mercedes goals for
Verstappen lauds 'tough' father Jos for
Vettel calls for Ferrari team effort to
Campos Racing signs Sebastian Fernandez
Webber warns Ricciardo: Red Bull could b
Wolff admits dismay upon hearing of Hami
Red Bull would consider Aston Martin/Le
Not even triple the budget could have fi