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Saturday, December 13, 1997 Published at 10:08 GMT



Sport

France dropped from F1 season
image: [ The 16-race 1998 Grand Prix world championship starts in Australia on March 8 ]
The 16-race 1998 Grand Prix world championship starts in Australia on March 8

France has been dropped from the Formula One Grand Prix calendar by the sport's ruling body for the first time in 43 years.

China and South Africa have been put on a reserve list of potential venues for the 1998 season as the Belgian and Portuguese races are also in doubt.

The FIA removed France from the list of Grand Prix venues because of a dispute over TV rights.

In France, the TF1 network has the rights for Formula One but rival FR3 obtained a judgement allowing all channels to operate at the racetrack.

Belgium's Grand Prix, at Spa-Francorchamps, is in jeopardy following that country's to ban tobacco advertising - a huge source of revenue for Formula 1.


[ image: Jacques Villeneuve celebrates winning the 1997 Formula 1 championship]
Jacques Villeneuve celebrates winning the 1997 Formula 1 championship
The new Belgian law, which comes into effect in 1999, goes beyond plans by the 15 European Union nations to phase out tobacco ads over a 10-year period.

The Portuguese race is in doubt because FIA officials have asked for a "binding undertaking" that renovation work at Estoril will be completed in time.

Decisions will be made on the Belgian and Portuguese Grand Prixs on December 31.

It would be the first time either country has hosted one of the money-spinning Formula One races.
 





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