That something was amiss became apparent the moment F1 decamped in the foothills of Austria's snow-capped Styrian Mountains. Even before the cars were presented for Thursday scrutineering, Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz - owner of two teams, the circuit hosting the grand prix and a string of media properties - levelled heavy criticism at engine partner Renault via his motorsport organ Speedweek.
That in itself was no surprise, for Red Bull management have long expressed their frustrations about the power unit's lack of performance - even when their own chassis have been lacking - and such were their comments that Mateschitz, a self-made billionaire many times over, must have granted approval for their outbursts, even if only tacitly.
But the big eye-opener came the following day when The Red Bulletin, formerly F1's cheery and frivolous newpaper, but now available via subscription or as insert in more serious publications, made a return to the paddock - immediately taking sideswipes at F1, with, amongst others, a lead column by Niki Lauda entitled "What's Wrong with F1?" Another feature was headed "Curing the Crisis".