All lovers of motorsport in Albia (of whom, I am assured, there are many) have been shocked by the news that the Albian Formula One Grand Prix, an event which has been held for over 50 years, faces cancellation. I am sure all my readers will be aware of the long association between Albia and motorsport, an association going back more than a century to the time an Albian first filled his new car with petrol and himself with potato-based alcohol(*) before setting out to career madly along the road, killing as many pheasant, badgers, bears and pedestrians as possible.
No-one is sure why those in charge of Formula One should have chosen to withdraw from Albia(**), but present intelligence that negotiations broke down over the issue of tobacco advertising. I understand that the particular point at issue was the mandatory health warnings on cigarette packets recently introduced by the Albian government in order to comply with European Union regulations. While F1 bosses have said they can have no possible objection to the various prescribed admonitions in principle, they apparently fail to see why the warning that "smoking can make you short and wrinkly" should be illustrated by a picture of Mr Bernie Ecclestone.
(*) Though some accounts suggest that the aforementioned Albian chose, in fact, to fuel himself with the petrol and the motorcar with the potato-based alcohol. In any event the results were satisfactory.
(**) Some have claimed that F1 bosses have exhibited a preference for dealing with oppressive regimes, for instance, butI understand that Mr Schlop and his Home Minister have made it plain they are as willing to oppress their citizenry as any other government.
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