Mercedes and Formula One reacted angrily on Tuesday after the governing FIA said it was investigating media speculation a team boss received confidential information from an employee of the commercial rights holder.
The team principal was not named but media reports mentioned Mercedes' Toto Wolff and wife Susie, who leads the all-female F1 Academy and reports to Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali.
Wolff took to social media to share a statement:
"The FIA is aware of media speculation centred on the allegation of information of a confidential nature being passed to an F1 team principal from a member of FOM personnel," the governing body said in a statement.
"The FIA compliance department is looking into the matter."
Liberty Media-owned Formula One said the FIA statement had not been shared in advance and expressed "complete confidence that the allegations are wrong" and "no member of our team has made any unauthorised disclosure to a team principal."
Formula One added that it had "robust processes and procedures that ensure the segregation of information and responsibilities in the event of any potential conflict of interest."
Mercedes spoke of "unsubstantiated allegations" from a single media outlet.
"The team has received no communication from the FIA Compliance Department on this topic and it was highly surprising to learn of the investigation through a media statement," it added.
"We wholly reject the allegation in the statement and associated media coverage, which wrongly impinges on the integrity and compliance of our team principal."
Team Statement pic.twitter.com/aUiOxteF9o— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 5, 2023
The www.motorsport.com website reported that some principals had expressed concern to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem of a potential conflict of interest, although nothing had been said in public.
It said Ben Sulayem had asked the compliance department to investigate.
An FIA spokesman could not comment on the matter.