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AUGUST 10, 2005

Business F1 takes a hit

The magazine Business F1 has run into legal difficulties having published allegations in January about Alan Donnelly, Max Mosley's official representative at Formula 1 Grands Prix.

The magazine alleged that Donnelly had obtained exorbitant and undeserved sums from the FIA over the previous three years and that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that he had diverted all or some of these monies for his personal use rather than paying them to his company Sovereign Strategy.

Mr Justice Eady considered the evidence and ruled that Business F1 and its editor Tom Rubython had no realistic prospect of successfully defending this claim for libel and held that the claim was suitable for determination under the summary disposal procedure provided for by the Defamation Act 1996. The judge ruled that the allegations were false and defamatory, and ordered Business F1 to pay Mr Donnelly $15,000 in damages and to pay the costs of the case, which may be as high as $210,000.

The magazine has agreed not to repeat such allegations in future and will publish an apology in its next issue.

Business F1 is a small circulation monthly magazine about F1, despite the fact that its staff do not have direct access to the F1 paddock as the magazine does not fulfil the necessary criteria for the necessary passes.