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BAR miss first practice in France - updated 04 Jul 2003

The empty BAR garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Magny-Cours, France, 4 July 2003

BAR was unable to participate in first practice at Magny-Cours this morning after its attempt to overturn a court order seizing its assets was delayed. The team will be free to take part in qualifying, however, after the order was subsequently declared invalid.

The order, which saw BAR's cars and equipment impounded in the Magny-Cours Paddock on Thursday evening, was based on a claim by France Corbeil of PPGI for commission due on a sponsorship contract alleged to have been agreed for the 1998 season. The matter is proceeding through the Monaco courts following a similar order during the Monaco Grand Prix but, due to the summer recess, will not be heard in full until October 15.

Team principal David Richards went to court in Nevers this morning seeking to get the cars released and was expecting the matter to be heard at 0900 CET. However, the judge's decision was delayed until 1130, which meant that the team missed practice. When the judge returned he subsequently overturned the court order on the grounds that he had no jurisdiction over the matter, leaving the team free to participate in the remainder of the French Grand Prix meeting.

BAR issued a statement saying that it was "surprised that PPGI should seek a seizure order on assets of the team when the due process and timescale have already been established by the Monaco courts."