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Mosley and the French bite and scratch

THE French Minister of Youth and Sport last week upset the FIA by telling her country's National Assembly that she was still trying to win a place on the 1998 Formula 1 calendar for the French Grand Prix but that: "I end up asking myself whether the international federation does not want to remove Formula 1 from the whole of Europe to go to countries where there are not laws protecting public health".

She said that she was doing "everything possible to ensure that the French GP takes place - but not at any price, as the values and the laws of the French Republic have to be respected."

The comments brought swift reaction from FIA President Max Mosley, who pointed out that the problems with the French GP have nothing to do with "some imaginary plan to remove F1 from Europe" but date back to 1992. Mosley said that the FIA had to endure "endless promises and years of fruitless negotiation" over the rights of TV companies to film at the French GP. Mosley added that "the reason for this inability on the part of your ministry to solve a simple problem escapes me".

The FIA President added that as all reasonable deadlines were now passed, holding a French GP in 1998 is now "virtually impossible" and that it can now only happen if each team agrees to add another race to the calendar.

The following day Mosley and Buffet spoke on the telephone and issued conciliatory press statements saying that the Minister intended to present a new law to the National Assembly in January and Mosley had said he would do everything possible to secure the agreement of the teams if Buffet was successful in her quest.

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