FIA attacks EU over F1 tobacco ban

Motorsport boss Max Mosley has warned that Formula 1's self-imposed tobacco advertising ban from 2006 may have to be scrapped in the wake of the European Union imposing its own ban a year earlier

FIA attacks EU over F1 tobacco ban

The EU's decision to introduce a ban from July 31 2005 has, according to Mosley, left the FIA in a difficult position in its attempts for a unified world ban from October 1 2006.

Mosley's fear is that, unless the EU changes its date, F1 teams may choose to drop grands prix in Europe during 2005-2006 and then even get F1's tobacco ban dropped altogether.

In a scathing letter to the EU commissioner of health David Byrne, Mosley said: "By choosing a date earlier than the world date, the EU will now force teams to seek events outside the EU during part of 2005 and all of 2006 in order to observe contracts [sponsorship] which do not expire until the end of 2006.

"Such events will inevitably themselves seek long-term contracts and, of course, allow tobacco sponsorship. Quite obviously, the probable consequence is that the tobacco contracts which currently expire in 2006 will soon be extended beyond that date."

Should this scenario play out, the FIA would be unable to impose its own tobacco ban because it is not allowed to independently regulate commercial contracts between teams and sponsors.

A unified approach from the EU, the World Health Organisation and other regulatory bodies to a 2006 ban would have given the FIA authority to banish tobacco advertising from F1 for good.

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