BAR Cars Impounded at Magny-Cours (Updated)

BAR-Honda could be left without cars to race in this weekend's French Grand Prix after the French police dramatically impounded their machines at the Magny-Cours circuit on Thursday.

BAR Cars Impounded at Magny-Cours <font face=Verdana size=1><i>(Updated)</i></font>

BAR-Honda could be left without cars to race in this weekend's French Grand Prix after the French police dramatically impounded their machines at the Magny-Cours circuit on Thursday.

Two men, accompanied by five policemen, stormed into the circuit in an effort to find the teams bosses, including team principal David Richards, to recover past debts.

Briton Jenson Button and Canadian teammate Jacques Villeneuve are due out on track on Friday but face an anxious wait as their team and the organisers negotiate with the men after the police were escorted from the circuit.

A judgement was made in a French court on Thursday to allow the men in to discuss the situation with BAR chiefs and another final court decision will be made on Friday as to whether the cars will be allowed to race.

All three machines have passed the organisers' scrutineering procedure, which means they will be allowed to race on Sunday if the impounding does not go ahead.

But the team were forced to load their equipment - other than anything belonging to their suppliers Honda or Bridgestone - into a single BAR transporter which will be locked and left as a secure area overnight.

The situation has come about because of an unpaid debt owed to France Corbeil, of a company named S.A.M. Partnership Production Group International, that dates back five years.

A "private" court order was granted for the seizure of the BAR cars at the Monaco Grand Prix last month but nothing happened because the company did not have the assistance of the police.

The team said in Monaco that their management, which took over at the start of last season, were not aware of the situation until "earlier this year" after they received a demand for commission on a deal with former sponsors Teleglobe.

The team were able to present their situation to the courts on the Monday morning following the Monaco Grand Prix and said they had been confident that the court order would be lifted immediately.

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