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Stoddart: Bans may Lead to Boycott

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart claims the team could boycott the French Grand Prix if the FIA's World Motor Sport Council hands the seven Michelin-shod outfits 'draconian' penalties on Wednesday

The seven teams were summoned to appear in front of the council for charges of bringing the sport into disrepute, after they orchestrated a boycott of the US Grand Prix last weekend.

FIA president Max Mosley told BBC Radio Five Live the teams face penalties at the WMSC hearing from reprimand to a lifetime ban from the sport - but Mosley stated he believed the punishment would not be as light as the former option or as heavy as the latter.

"Obviously you don't sanction people unless they are guilty and the first thing you've got to do is listen and see what they have to say because there are two sides to every story," Mosley said.

"If they were found guilty, then it goes all the way from a reprimand through to being banned for life. I don't suppose either of those two alternatives would arise but there's a big range of things in between."

Stoddart, however, warned that any form of punishment more than a reprimand could lead to a backlash from the teams.

"In the worst possible situation of some kind of draconian penalty, would the other teams race? I think we would have a meeting and you wouldn't guarantee it," Stoddart told BBC Radio. "If it is anything more than a reprimand [then it would be wrong]. The teams were totally innocent victims, as was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as were the American public."

Stoddart said a ban would almost certainly lead to an appeal in front of the FIA's International Court of Appeal, "and then it would end up in the civil courts," the Australian said.

"[The penalty] could be anything; I heard unofficial reports of what it might be, ranging from a $2.5 million fine to a suspended ban, to all kinds of possible things.

"I would hope Max would come to his senses, but who knows?"

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