FIA race director Charlie Whiting has played down suggestions he threw Mercedes staff members "under a bus" by naming them in relation to a recent investigation into Ferrari's ERS unit.
Following increasing speculation that Ferrari might have found a way to deliver more than the permitted 120kw of power from its MGU-K, the governing body concluded an investigation into the system in Monaco and found that it was legal.
The technical details of the investigation remain confidential, but on Saturday in Monaco Whiting spoke with British press about how the situation came about. He noted that he was first made aware of the concerns by Mercedes technical director James Allison and, when asked by a journalist, confirmed it was a former Ferrari engine man, Lorenzo Sassi, who brought "a little bit of information" to Mercedes when he joined the team earlier this year.
On Sunday in Monaco, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff expressed concerns that Whiting had named specific members of his staff when talking to the media, but Whiting believes the information was already public and not unusual in any way.
"I didn't think it was any secret," he said. "In fact when we had a little chat with the guys [journalists] yesterday, it was they who came up with the Ferrari man's name. I don't think it was any secret.
"The fact that James ... it was wrong to say that he was a whistleblower or something like that. He just, as many engineers do, came up to us and said 'this guy started working for us and he says this team might be doing that', and we go and check, and it's not the case.
"This is a regular thing. It was just one of those normal conversations that you have with somebody: 'We think Ferrari may be doing this, this and this because of that', and we went and checked, and we thought 'actually they could be doing that, so let's have a check and make sure'.
"It's taken us a little while to get to that, but as I say, it's a pretty routine kind of thing for us, for people to come to us, especially when they've had staff members come from another team. Don't forget Lorenzo, his information is at least eight months old [due to his period of gardening leave after leaving Ferrari], which in Formula One terms is quite old."
Whiting went on to explain why it had taken so long for the FIA to confirm the Ferrari system was legal.
"I prefer not to use the word investigate, we were really trying to get to the point where we would be entirely satisfied [it was legal]," he said. "But the power being delivered to the MGU-K is correct.
"It was difficult to explain exactly what we were seeing. That's why we kept going through it with Ferrari, because it's a very complex and totally different system to everybody else's. In much the way we do with the other bits in the car, we have to understand these things and it took us a bit longer to understand what was going on.
"Their duty is to satisfy us that the car complies, as you know, but they've been finding it hard to satisfy us. But by the time we got to here and looking at data, software changes that were implemented, it becomes clearer exactly where we were and after the first day of running we were then able to say 'OK we're happy now. We understand it now'."
Asked if the FIA would take any further measures to monitor Ferrari's system this year, Whiting added: "I can't say that with complete certainty at the moment. We want them to put extra monitoring on, but at the moment we're having to do it in a rather painstaking way that takes a little longer than we would've liked.
"I think we will arrive at the same conclusion I would imagine but, in Canada they will be providing a change of software which will enable us to ... I'm hesitating slightly simply because I'm not quite up to speed with the exact technicalities of this because I'm not an expert of this.
"But what we're trying to do is to monitor what the difference is between the two halves of the battery are, and that's the crux of the matter because other systems treat their battery as one. Ferrari, it's one battery, but they treat it as two. And that's really the fundamental difference between the two. I don't think it's a secret I'm giving away there."