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Formula One Excludes French GP

October 8, 1997

PARIS (AP) - The International Automobile Federation excluded the French Grand Prix from its 1998 Formula One 16-race schedule Wednesday because over a television rights battle.

Formula One officials give exclusive rights to one French network but others were allowed on the site of the French Grand Prix in Magny Cours creating a conflict.

It is not the first time the French Grand Prix was taken off the schedule. In 1992, FIA was threatened with law suits because of cigarette sponsorship showing on cars.

FIA withdrew the race from the 1993 schedule until the government assured officials there would be no problem because of France’s anti-smoking laws and the race was held.

The ruling body also added the Portuguese Grand Prix ``subject to completion of works and finalization of the contract.″ The Portuguese race was abruptly canceled from this year’s calendar.

FIA said last May that the race would not be held this season because work on the Estoril track would not be completed in time. In June, FIA said if the $5.9 million improvements needed for the track were carried out by the end of August, it would propose to the Formula One world championship teams that a race be held at Estoril on Nov. 9.

However there was not enough interest for the Formula One teams to extend its season beyond the scheduled 17 races this year and the season will end at Jerez.

There will be 16 races next year including the Luxembourg Grand Prix in Germany Sept. 27 as well as the regular German Grand Prix Aug. 2. A European Grand Prix was scheduled for Jerez in southwestern Spain on Oct. 26.

The season begins in Australia March 8 and finishes at the Japanese Grand Prix Nov. 1.

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