The World Motor Sport Council has given permission to the FIA to institute legal proceedings against The Sunday Times, following an article in the newspaper alleging that the sport's governing body was involved in a witch-hunt against McLaren.
Although the FIA is led by a respected barrister (Max Mosley), it is rare for anyone to take on the British media and win. Furthermore, with many within the F1 paddock, indeed, the F1 industry, critical of the FIA, but fearful of speaking out in case of reprisals, a high-profile court case could see all manner of excrement hitting the fan in the months/years ahead.
Ironically, the article in question was not written by a journalist but by former race driver, turned ITV commentator, Martin Brundle. In a further twist, Brundle's comments followed a denial from an FIA spokesman, to The Times, that the FIA's pursuit of McLaren was a vendetta.
"This inquiry was triggered by a letter of complaint from Ferrari which was, in turn, triggered by the extraordinary discovery of 780 pages of their most confidential technical information in the hands of McLaren's chief designer," the spokesman told The Times. "Under the circumstances, the suggestion that the FIA's ongoing investigation is about anything other than the pursuit of sporting fairness demonstrates a blinding refusal to accept the basic facts."
Meanwhile, there is still no news of Jackie Stewart's planned libel case against Max Mosley, after the Englishman said the Scot was a "certified half-wit" following comments the three-time World Champion made in reference to the way in which the FIA handled the McLaren spy saga.
Interesting times ahead.