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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 March, 2005, 05:17 GMT
F1 bosses threaten Australian GP
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart
Stoddart backed down in the row after making his point
Motorsport's governing body the FIA has threatened to pull Formula One and world rallying out of Australia after a row at the country's Grand Prix.

The Supreme Court of Victoria intervened to allow Minardi to run cars that race stewards had deemed illegal.

If the court acted lawfully the FIA would decide "if a world championship event of any kind can ever again be held in Australia", a statement said.

The FIA is angry the judge intervened without hearing its case.

"The stewards of the Australian Grand Prix and the FIA were given no notice of these proceedings and were given no opportunity to be present when the judge heard the case," the statement said.

"Apparently the judge thought it right to interfere with the running of a major sporting event, overrule the duly appointed international officials and compel the governing body to allow cars to participate in breach of the international regulations - all this without first hearing both sides of the case."

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart said earlier on Saturday that threats made to the future of the Australian Grand Prix had been a factor in his decision to end the legal battle.

He said: "No threats were made to me at all. Threats were made to the Australian Grand Prix and threats were made on what it would do and the precedent it would set in international motorsport.

"I'm not doing anything to interfere with this Grand Prix and I'm certainly not going to be accused of interfering in the long-term future of motorsport."

Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief Ron Walker said the issue would be raised by the Australian representative and FIA vice-president John Large at the next meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council later this month.

Walker said the issue raised by FIA in its statement "clearly have implications for many other countries which host rounds of the FIA Formula One world championship."


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