APRIL 28, 1997
French GP is on
THE French Grand Prix will go ahead as planned on June 29, following a fierce battle within the French government. The FIA thanked Justice Minister Jacques Toubon - a big F1 fan - and the Minister of Youth and Sport Guy Drut for their efforts to solve the problems over television coverage of the event.
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone had an exclusive contract with the TF1 channel for the terrestrial TV rights of the event. Rival channel FR3 decided that French law should allow it to film at Magny-Cours because a public event could not be closed to news cameras.
The courts in France agreed and FR3 forced Ecclestone to back down last year - which did not please Bernie who refused to sanction the event this year until the problem was sorted out.
The threat of cancellation was enough to force the government to back down although we understand that there was a bitter row over whether or not the changes to the law are an infringement of French civil liberties.
Drut and Toubon, incidentally, have both played major roles in helping Alain Prost put together his F1 team, Toubon being rumored to be the man who convinced Peugeot to supply Prost.
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