Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has denied that he complained about Max Verstappen's aggressive driving in a recent phone call to his father Jos Verstappen.
Speculation in the Brazilian GP paddock suggested that Wolff had been unhappy about the way that Verstappen had banged wheels with Nico Rosberg in Mexico, in a move that could have had a dramatic impact on the title battle.
In a response, it was claimed, Wolff had directly contacted Jos Verstappen to complain that it was not right that his son was taking risks while Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were focused on the championship.
But speaking in Brazil on Friday, having heard the claims, Wolff played down the matter, and clarified that their recent conversation was one of many regular talks they have about F1.
Furthermore, Wolff explained that his conversation had been about advising Verstappen's father to attend more races to help guide the young Dutch driver - and him mentioning it would be bad for the Red Bull protege if his season was remembered for getting involved in a reckless move that decided the world title.
"It is not true that I complained. Jos and I are very friendly," said Wolff. "We regularly talk and sometimes have dinner together – so there was nothing unusual about our recent chat. I have no problem with Max at all."
Jos Verstappen did not wish to comment on the matter, having returned to the F1 paddock for the first time in several races.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said he was far from impressed about Wolff communicating with Verstappen at all.
"Jos told me that when he got here on Thursday and I was just a bit surprised that Toto called a driver’s father from another team," Horner told Sky.
"I was a bit surprised hearing that. I am not a team principal calling another team's driver’s father. Obviously Toto would and felt the need to do so!
"I’m not planning on calling Lewis’ dad and I don’t know Keke’s number, so nothing here to get involved into."
He added: "I think it’s rubbish really. Everybody can race, but if Toto wants, we can have a drivers’ meeting tomorrow at 11am before the race at 2pm.
"The guys, Daniel and Max, are going to do the best job they can, for the best result they can and that’s what they are paid for.
"Of course, there is a championship going on, but it’s between those two relevant drivers and our interest is to do the best on this race, as in any other."
Ahead of the weekend, Max Verstappen had made it clear that there was no need for him to change his approach to racing the Mercedes duo – as he always treated his rivals with respect.
Asked about if he would treat Rosberg and Hamilton differently because of their title aspirations, he said: "Imagine you tell your team like 'now I'm going to stay out of the fight, I'm just going to cruise round behind them.' They wouldn't be happy as well.
"You always treat it with respect, you never try to hit each other but that's already the whole season when you try to pull a move on them or when you are in that position. There is the same approach."