Motor Racing: EC rule to rescue Williams

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RENAULT, engine suppliers to Williams, the world championship winning team omitted from this year's Formula One entry list, claim their partners' application was valid, writes Derick Allsop.

Williams admit they missed the deadline of Sunday 15 November, by 24 hours. They now require the support of all the other teams for readmission, but two of them, Benetton-Ford and Minardi, have so far withheld their backing.

However, French lawyers working on behalf of Williams and Renault contend that there are no legal grounds for excluding the team.

A statement issued by Renault Sport said 'if Fisa (the sport's governing body) considers Williams' registration to be outside the time limit, it would mean that they ignore the law and, in particular, article five of the European Convention on the Calculation of Deadlines. This article holds that when a deadline expires on a Sunday, it is extended to include 'the very next working day'.'

That is why Renault Sport is not at all worried about the validity of the Williams team's registration for entry in the 1993 Formula One world championship.

Pacific, the Norfolk-based organisation hoping to graduate to the championship from Formula 3000, say they are confident they can fulfil the requirements of Fisa. They have named one of their drivers, the German, Michael Bartels. The authorities plan to limit the entry to 30 cars, so avoiding the need for pre-qualifying, and the inclusion of Williams and Pacific would give them a full complement.

French anti-tobacco lobbyists yesterday agreed to drop legal action against Williams and other Formula One teams sponsored by tobacco companies, clearing the way for the French Grand Prix to be reinstated in the calendar.