Motor Racing: Ecclestone speaks up for Senna

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The Independent Online
AYRTON SENNA will have the support of Formula One's impresario, Bernie Ecclestone, when he appears before a court of FIA, the ruling body of motor sport, in Paris today to explain the punch-throwing incident with Northern Ireland's Eddie Irvine after the Japanese Grand Prix two months ago, writes Derick Allsop.

Ecclestone, vice-president of FIA and president of the Formula One Constructors' Association, said yesterday: 'If I had been Senna I would have whacked him. He was provoked. I wouldn't ban Senna but I wouldn't be surprised if he does get a ban. I'm just one voice, one vote.'

The first grand prix of next season could be Brazil, Senna's home country, but Ecclestone insists that will not influence the outcome of the hearing. Irvine is flying in from Japan to give his version of events on and off the track, and Damon Hill is being summoned as a witness to the incidents on the circuit, where Senna, the race leader and eventual winner, claims he was unreasonably and dangerously held up by Irvine, who was running a lap behind.

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