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Arbitration for BAR

BRITISH AMERICAN RACING and the FIA are to go to arbitration in their dispute over the new regulation which bans FormulaŹ1 teams from using different liveries on their cars. The Concorde Agreement - which BAR is a party to - allows for arbitration in such disputes but if this fails to produce an acceptable solution the team is likely to find itself in big trouble.

Solicitors acting on behalf of the team have already contacted the FIA declaring their intention to take legal action if it does not get its way. The team is apparently arguing that both Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone ran cars in different liveries when they were team bosses in the 1970s. This is true but that was a very long time ago and the sport has changed.

If arbitration fails and the team goes ahead with its legal action we would expect BAR not to be given official entries in the World Championship as it will not be able to fulfil the obligations necessary to be granted an entry.

The rules state very clearly that teams must accept the regulations and "the consequences resulting therefrom". If the team does not get an entry it will not only have to accept the rules and give up on its twin livery dream but it would also have to get the agreement of all the other teams if it wishes to race in 1999. That is likely to be costly, certainly in political terms, but perhaps also financially.

The only other option if the team does not get an entry is to stay out of F1 and pursue legal action. British American Tobacco is unlikely to agree to that course of action and the team would break up anyway as most of the staff have been contracted to go racing - and that is what they want to do.

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