The atmosphere could be strained at Silverstone this weekend for the British Grand Prix following the tyre test controversy that has been exercising Formula One for the past three weeks.
Mercedes and Pirelli were hauled before an FIA International Tribunal in Paris to answer allegations of an illegal 1,000km-test session which raised the hackles of the rest of the F1 paddock and Red Bull in particular.
Lewis Hamilton returns to Silverstone for the first time since leaving McLaren
F1 Sporting Regulations clearly state that no in-season testing be allowed during a championship year – further to that it states that you cannot use a current season car nor current season drivers.
Mercedes insisted that their involvement was at the behest of Pirelli as the tyre supplier tried to find the cause of a number of tyre delaminations experienced across the grid, including Mercedes.
Mercedes’ team boss Ross Brawn sought authorisation from Charlie Whiting, renowned as the FIA’s go-to person on all things regulatory-wise during Grand Prix weekends. Whiting spoke to the in-house legal team who deemed it was allowable. Mercedes used this as the authorisation needed to go-ahead with the test but the tribunal said that Whiting did not have that overriding authority.
With Pirelli claiming they fell outside of the Sporting Code as they are not a competitor, but merely a supplier the FIA's regulations were suddenly looking a bit fragile with legal loopholes appearing everywhere.
The outcome? Everyone was to blame.
The FIA, Pirelli and Mercedes are splitting the cost of the tribunal hearing (rumoured to be around £5m); Pirelli and Mercedes have been given a formal reprimand (a spanked bottom) and Mercedes are banned from the upcoming Young Driver’s Test. In the eyes of their competitors, they have been let off.
Whatever the rights and wrongs, teams are still unhappy with Mercedes' actions, so tension could be in evidence at Silverstone. The team principals' press conference on Friday could make for interesting viewing.
If a heavy air is cast over Silverstone that would be unfortunate as the famous old airfield is one of the highlights of the F1 calendar and regarded as one of the sport's crown jewels.
As ever for British fans, the question is can we look forward to a home victory?
It's possible but in reality the chances are low. Max Chilton, driving for Marussia, is rooted to the back of the grid, but the fight to score the first point for the team is still there – and achieving that would be akin to winning a race.
Jenson Button has not had much to smile about at Silverstone
Jenson Button, who has never finished on the podium at Silverstone, is trying to make the most of a very disappointing 2013 so far in a car that was lapped last time out in Montreal; finishing in the points will surely be the best he can hope for.
Paul Di Resta is having a great year so far with Force India and a good race could yield a potential podium.
Then there is Lewis Hamilton, the last British winner of this Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver has appeared somewhat downbeat in recent races, but people always expected 2013 to be a nothing year for the former World Champion.
Hamilton is in a car that will be a strong contender for pole on Saturday. If he can convert a strong qualifying into a race win on Sunday it will not only bring scenes to Silverstone reminiscent of Nigel Mansell winning in 1992, but also surprise many as the Mercedes is not good enough in current race trim.
So, on paper Lewis looks favourite but of course he and the rest of the home contingent must contend with race favourites Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
A couple of final mentions. Firstly, we all had a reminder of how dangerous motorsport can be with the loss of Allan Simonsen at the Le Mans 24 Hours last weekend – may he definitely race in peace. Also, to Murray Walker who has been diagnosed with cancer and will sadly not be attending the British Grand Prix this year. HuffPost UK wishes him a speedy recovery.