MAGNY-COURS (France): BAR prepared to make a swift exit from the French Grand Prix on Sunday after bailiffs sought in vain to prevent the Formula One team from removing their cars.
Honda-powered BAR are being sued by Monaco production company PPGI, who claim that the British-based team owes them a US$3mil commission for negotiating sponsoring rights when former boss Craig Pollock was in charge.
The team refutes the claim but has been dogged by court orders against them in Monaco last month and in France in the past week.
A team spokeswoman confirmed that bailiffs, who impounded the cars at the Magny-Cours circuit on Thursday before the team won their release in court on Friday, returned with more paperwork after the race.
The team said in a statement that “BAR was made aware of further court action by PPGI endeavouring to frustrate the legitimate business activities of the team.
“BAR is completely within its rights under French law to remove its cars and equipment from the circuit and return to the UK in order to prepare them for participation in the British Grand Prix in two weeks' time,” it said.
“Any suggestion that this is contrary to French law or any orders that PPGI may have obtained is totally false.”
BAR said they would meet this week to discuss a counter-suit against PPGI, looking at damage caused to the team over the weekend as well as possible defamation.
Drivers Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve missed Friday's practice for the race because of the court action.
Canadian Villeneuve finished ninth while Button retired after 21 laps with a fuel delivery problem.
“It's been a tough weekend but the team put the problems behind them and made the best of things,” said Button.
The team will also be testing next week in Spain. – Reuters