MARCH 7, 2003
High Court denies journalist F1 pass
Tom Rubython, the controversial former editor of Formula 1 magazine, has been out of the sport since October last year. Recently, however, he applied for passes for a new magazine called Business F1. The first edition of the magazine has apparently been published but it is only available in small numbers. Subscription is $432 a year for 12 issues ($36 an issue).
Rubython applied for three passes for the Australian Grand Prix but his application was declined by the FIA on the grounds that the publication did not meet the requirements for any pass. This decision was made by the FIA Press Delegate Agnes Kaiser. Rubython had applied for two journalist passes and a photographer's pass but these were refused on the grounds that the FIA does not accredit new magazines until they are proven; that the proposed circulation of 6,000 was too small and that the photographer was already accredited by another magazine.
Rubython challenged the decision and so the case went to the FIA's Director of Communications Richard Woods. It was rejected again on the grounds that the publication did not conform to the requirements for the accreditation procedures. Rubython then wrote to FIA President Max Mosley. Mosley verified with Woods that the procedures had been followed and replied accordingly.
Rubython then decided to take legal action to try to force the issue and applied to the High Court in London for an injunction to force the FIA to give him the passes. His action was against the FIA and Max Mosley personally.
The case was rejected on all grounds, leave to appeal was refused and costs which will run into thousands of dollars were awarded to the FIA. The decision sets an important precedent in that it confirms the FIA's right to enforce its own accreditation principles and procedure.
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