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Australian F1 in crisis

06/03/2005 06:19:30 AM Comments (0)

Formula One plunged into crisis after the sport's governing body threatened to strip Australia of its Grand Prix.

The warning came from the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) after Minardi owner Paul Stoddart's successful Supreme Court action.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation boss Ron Walker said the statement had "implications for many other countries which host rounds of the FIA Formula One World Championship."

And Stoddart responded by threatening to take the FIA to the High Court in London and "wipe the floor with them".

He strongly implied that if the race was struck off the calendar F1 teams would veto the schedule.

The drama snowballed after Stoddart won a court ruling overturning a decision of the race stewards to block his cars from competing on Sunday because they did not comply with 2005 regulations.

The court decision drew a furious response from FIA president Max Mosley who slammed the Australian legal system.

"Apparently the judge thought it right to interfere with the running of a major sporting event, overrule the duly appointed international officials and compel the governing body to allow cars to participate in breach of the international regulations - all this without first hearing both sides of the case," the FIA said.

"If Australian laws and procedures do indeed allow a judge to act in this way, it will be for the World Motor Sport Council to decide if a World Championship motor sport event of any kind can ever again be held in Australia."

The row is headed for a showdown at the meeting of the council on March 30.

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