The law according to BAR

British American Racing is intending to continue to run its Lucky Strike livery outside the European Union, despite British legislation which appears to make this illegal for a British-based company. The team will not run the livery in the EU after a new ban comes into force in August.

"Clearly for races in the EU, we cannot advertise on the car beyond July of this year," said team boss Nick Fry at the launch of the new BAR-Honda 007 in Spain at the weekend. "The complexity is with the British government interpretation of the rules and one interpretation might be that for races outside the European Union if pictures of the car are transmitted back to the UK, then that wouldn't be allowed. We do not believe that the British government ever intended that and as a consequence of that, at the moment it is our intention and our belief that we can continue to advertise (outside the EU) on the car beyond July and through to the end of 2006."

BAR has asked the British government for clarification of the legislation on several occasions but there has yet to be a clear answer.

"The only option that we have at this moment is to continue with our interpretation of what we think they want or meant," Fry added.

The problem for the British government is that if it does not enforce the law that has been voted through there are liable to be criticism and legal challenges from the anti-smoking lobby and if the government reinterprets the regulations it has agreed the opposition parties in parliament will use that to attack the government.

In the meanime support for the global tobacco ban grows with Spain being the latest big player to sign up to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In recent days both Korea and Taiwan have also agreed to sign the treaty but have yet to actually do so.

The treaty will become international law on February 27 but only in the countries which have signed the deal.

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