Formula One team bosses have warned they could boycott races in Europe unless they are exempted from new legislation that holds them liable for drivers’ deaths on track.

Formula One team bosses have warned they could boycott races in Europe unless they are exempted from new legislation that holds them liable for drivers’ deaths on track.

In accordance with new European Union (EU) legislation, a warrant was introduced on January 1 to replace existing extradition deals between EU member states .

Team chiefs are requesting guarantees from governments that they will be exempt from arrest warrants in the event of fatalities. They have warned that they will only race in countries whose governments have promised not to use the procedure in connection with Formula One race incidents.

Eight EU member states (including Britain, Spain and Belgium) have already implemented the new regulations. The seven remaining members (France, Germany and Italy included) have indicated that they are to implement the legislation by March.

"This is a matter of serious concern," FIA president Max Mosley said. "We will continue to talk with the various EU governments and the European Commission to try and resolve it."

The last on-track fatality was that of Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994.

In the ongoing legal battle, Williams technical director Patrick Head and former chief designer Adrian Newey were acquitted of manslaughter in 1997. The verdict was upheld on appeal in 1999 but last year the two were notified that they would face a new appeal court hearing into Senna’s death.

Meanwhile it has also emerged that there will be a new Formula 1 stepping stone from 2005.

The current main feeder, Formula 3000, will be replaced with the new Formula GP2 series which will take place at the European Formula 1 events.

The chassis and engine will be more sophisticated than the current F3000. Renault will design, build and service the engines, while Dallara will produce the chassis.

Formula One’s Bernie Ecclestone said this would be a very good way for drivers, engineers and mechanics to get into Formula One. Organiser Bruno Michel has said that the idea is to have a car as close to Formula one as possible.

As with F3000 racing, the FIA will be the technical and sporting regulator of the Formula GP2 series.