Having seemingly got itself back on track with regard to hosting the British Grand Prix at an improved facility, Silverstone now finds itself facing an altogether different battle.

The British venue is one of three - along with Spa and Barcelona - that finds itself faced with the spectre of users being extradited in the case of a death during racing activities. According to a European Union directive implemented by eight member nations at the start of the year, team bosses responsible for cars involved in fatal accidents could be extradited to face legal proceedings - something that, since the furore following the death of Ayrton Senna at Imola almost ten years ago, they are fighting hard to avoid. The agreement replaces national extradition deals between EU member states.

Britain, Belgium and Spain are currently the only grand prix hosts to have signed up to the agreement, but the other seven nations - which include fellow hosts France, Germany and Italy - have said that they will join the list prior to the F1 season starting in March. As a result, the threat of a boycott affecting a third of the coming season is a possibility unless the FIA can persuade the EU and its nations that the sport should be exempted from the ruling due to its dangerous nature.

FIA president Max Mosley has written to the presidents of sporting bodies in those countries hosting races expressing the concerns of the competing teams, saying that they would only be prepared to race in countries whose governments gave a legally enforceable undertaking not to use the procedure in connection with racing incidents.

Team bosses have already said that they would not be prepared to race in Italy if they thought they risked the same situation that followed Senna's death early in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Then Williams technical chiefs Patrick Head and Adrian Newey were both acquitted of manslaughter after a trial in 1997, and the verdict was upheld on appeal in 1999. However, both have since been told that they are likely to face a new appeal court hearing, casting an ominous shadow over both of Italy's F1 events.