FIA president Max Mosley hopes a resolution can be found to prevent teams boycotting European races where they could be under threat of arrest in the case of an on track fatality. The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is already in place in Britain,...
FIA president Max Mosley hopes a resolution can be found to prevent teams boycotting European races where they could be under threat of arrest in the case of an on track fatality. The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is already in place in Britain, Spain and Belgium, while France, Germany and Italy are due to introduce the law by March. Teams want guarantees that they will be exempt from the warrant.
McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh said that, as he understood it, the EAW is intended for use in such crimes as terrorism or drug trafficking, but it has not been ruled out in connection with a sporting event. "We would like to think it is inappropriate for such eventualities and would like an assurance to that effect," he said.
Mosley is sure that teams will boycott races if governments do not agree to waive the warrant. "Under the European Arrest Warrant, the local magistrate could simply order the arrest of whoever was concerned and have them carted off to the relevant country and lock them up until there was a trial," he told BBC radio.
"The difficulty is that at the moment there are no bail provisions under the European Arrest Warrant, it's all been rushed through on the basis of things like terrorism. So it's a real menace, not only to the team principals but also to the mechanics and all the technicians and engineers -- everyone concerned with the team."
Mosley stressed that teams are not trying to escape prosecution in the case of a serious accident, only that they be exempt from this specific law. "The difficulty for them is they don't want to be arrested as soon as they are prosecuted and carted off to jail in the relevant country to await trial," he explained. If binding assurances that the warrant will not be used are not forthcoming, the teams "simply won't race -- they won't take the risk," Mosley added.
Eddie Jordan said the situation would make people wonder if it was worth attending the European events. "The opportunities that this law opens up are so far-ranging and penal that people involved in motor racing, and their families, will have to question whether it is worth racing in Europe," he told The Guardian.
Fellow team boss Frank Williams concurred: "I share significant concerns that it presents a potential risk for teams. The Williams team supports the FIA in its energies to represent formula one's interests in this matter," he commented.