Former Grand Prix driver and ITV Formula One commentator Martin Brundle has accused the FIA of trying to deter the media from criticising the governing body over their handling of the spying affair.
The FIA said it intends to sue the Sunday Times for libel after Brundle accused the governing body of witch-hunt against McLaren in a column published in September.
That column appeared four days before the World Motor Sport Council excluded McLaren from the 2007 constructors' championship and imposed a $100 million USD fine on the outfit.
In a new column published today in the Sunday Times, Brundle hits back at the FIA and claims the timing of the legal threat is not coincidental.
"The timing of the writ is significant, in my view, given the FIA's decision to find Renault guilty of having significant McLaren designs and information within their systems, but not administering any penalty," Brundle writes.
"It is a warning sign to other journalists and publications to choose their words carefully over that decision.
"I'm tired of what I perceive as the 'spin' and tactics of the FIA press office, as are many other journalists.
"I expect my accreditation pass for next year will be hindered in some way to make my coverage of F1 more difficult and to punish me. Or they will write to ITV again to say that my commentary is not up to standard despite my unprecedented six Royal Television Society Awards for sports broadcasting. So be it."
Brundle also defends his right to voice his criticism against the FIA, emphasizing his experience and passion for Formula One.
"As a former Formula One driver, I have earned the right to have an opinion about the sport, and probably know as much about it as anybody else," he writes.
"I have attended approaching 400 Grands Prix, 158 as a driver. I have spilt blood, broken bones, shed tears, generated tanker loads of sweat, tasted the champagne glories and plumbed the depths of misery.
"I have never been more passionate about F1 and will always share my opinions in an honest and open way, knowing readers will make up their own minds."
48-year-old Brundle raced in Formula One between the years 1984 and 1996. He has been commentating for ITV for the past decade.