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Formula One Teams Debate Boycott of European Races - 2004-01-20

Several top Formula One racing teams are considering a boycott of European races this season unless they are exempted from European Union arrest warrant laws.

The teams fear they could be arrested if a driver is killed in a race. The head of the International Automobile Federation, Max Mosley, has written to the heads of several national racing bodies asking them to exempt the Formula One teams from prosecution.

Spain, Belgium and Britain have adopted the new laws and other EU nations are expected to pass them as well. Team leaders say they are prepared to race only in countries that promise not to implement the legislation.

Mosley recalled the case of former driving champion Ayrton Senna of Brazil at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Williams team technical director Patrick Head and designer Adrian Newey were charged with manslaughter in connection with Senna's death. The team members were acquitted in 1997, but they could be implicated in any appeals.

The first European race of the 2004 season is the April 25 San Marino Grand Prix.