OCTOBER 17, 2003
Will the new rules stand up to a legal challenge?
The FIA World Council's acceptance of the proposals of the Formula 1 Commission to allow teams to run a third car on Friday's but banning anyone who has taken part in more than six World Championship events during the two previous seasons may not be legal under the Treaty of Rome, the legal agreement on which the European Union is based. Article 48 of the treaty establishes the right of a worker to accept offers of employment and thus if one of the drivers excluded as a result of the FIA rule (six of the nine drivers affected are Europeans) of the regulation change there are grounds for a legal challenge.
The rule was insisted upon by McLaren's Ron Dennis, who did not want rival teams running three cars at races with experienced tyre testers, incase they gained an advantage on the bigger teams. The drivers who could be affected by the ruling are Allan McNish, Mika Salo, Nick Heidfeld, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Pedro de la Rosa and Eddie Irvine. It will also affect Jacques Villeneuve, Alex Yoong and Enrique Bernoldi although they are not European citizens.
It is quite possible that the legal implication of the change will be brought to the attention of the FIA and that as a result it may need to seek legal advice and perhaps will reject the rule after the next World Motor Sport Council in December
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