FIA to take legal action over tobacco ban

After a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council today, the FIA announced it intends to take legal action in regard to the European Commission bringing forward the ban on tobacco advertising from 2006 to 2005. Formula One had agreed with the ban...

After a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council today, the FIA announced it intends to take legal action in regard to the European Commission bringing forward the ban on tobacco advertising from 2006 to 2005. Formula One had agreed with the ban from 2006 but the date being bought forward could result in EU races being moved to non-EU countries.

Many teams have agreements with tobacco companies to carry on with sponsorship until 2006, commitments that they may not be able to, or even want to, get out of. FIA president Max Mosley has warned before that European races are under threat from the tobacco ban and there are other countries not affected by the law that are eager to host a Grand Prix.

In a statement released today, the FIA said: "In the hope of restoring the 1 October 2006 date (both at EU and worldwide level) the FIA regrets that it finds itself with no alternative but to seek to have the Community's decision to impose a ban from mid-2005 reversed by way of a legal challenge."

F1's governing body argued that the Commission had failed to give any reason as to why the ban had been bought forward and that disallowing tobacco advertising was pointless, as television viewers would be able to see races from outside the EU complete with tobacco sponsorship anyway.

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Series Formula 1