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JANUARY 26, 1998

France bids to regain Grand Prix

THE French National Assembly, in Paris, last week passed a new bill to overcome the problems related to the television coverage of the French GP. The new bill states that the rights of a sporting event can be sold to a broadcaster but other broadcasters must be allowed to film at the venue, although only the exclusive broadcaster is allowed to film the event itself.

The new law should be acceptable to both the French government and to the F1 authorities. "The door is now open for the French Grand Prix to be put back on the F1 calendar," said France's Minister of Youth and Sport Marie-George Buffet.

If everything goes to plan the French GP will now regain its June 28 slot, which could mean that there will be 17 races in the 1998 season. This will largely depend on whether the Portuguese GP is replaced and whether the problems over the Belgian GP can be resolved.