Sebastian Vettel was rebuked in writing by FIA president Jean Todt for calling the sound of the new turbo V6 engines "shit".
Citing internal sources, Sport Bild and another German publication, Tagesspiegel, revealed that the reigning world champion received the personal letter mid-week from Todt alleging he risked bringing the sport into disrepute with the critical comments.
By Thursday in Bahrain, Vettel had tempered his view about the sound of F1's technological revolution.
"The fact that I criticise doesn't mean that I do not like formula one anymore," he is quoted by Auto Bild.
"We are still here with the best cars in the world competing against the best drivers.
"At the moment it might not sound that great, but formula one is still the pinnacle of motor sport," added Vettel.
"I realise that everyone thinks I don't like the sound because I have not won yet," said the reigning quadruple consecutive title winner, "but I don't care.
"I stand by what I said -- I am a fan of the old F1," added Vettel.
He admitted his comments had created an "issue".
"I've always been of the opinion that if you have something to say, then say it. It would not be good if suddenly you start to pretend."
"If Mr Todt is here, it makes sense to talk about a few things," he is quoted by SID news agency.
But that doesn't mean the controversial sound of the new turbo V6 engines will remain a hot topic in Bahrain.
A touted meeting led by the vociferous Ron Walker with his fellow race promoters has been called off, according to the Telegraph newspaper.
And correspondent Daniel Johnson added that F1 chief executive Ecclestone was also told in a meeting with team bosses on Friday to 'stop being so negative about the noise; that's enough for now'.