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banner Sunday, 10 June, 2001, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
Feuding pair face ban
Jacques Villeneuve
Villeneuve has been warned by Bernie Ecclestone
Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya could be banned for two races if their fierce feud opens up again.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has told the pair that he does not want the open hostility to escalate into another clash.

The warning came after they had to be pulled apart during the drivers' briefing at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Villeneuve was so incensed by a Montoya comment that he tried to grab him by the throat.


I have spoken to both drivers and told them that if there is another little incident, one or both will watch two races from outside
  FIA race director Charlie Whiting

As the pair tussled, watched by drivers and officials, they were pulled apart by the FIA's race director Charlie Whiting.

The Colombian is alleged to have told his fellow driver he had "killed" someone this season.

The allegation refers to the opening race of this season in Melbourne when Villeneuve's BAR car collided with the Williams of Montoya's team-mate Ralf Schumacher.

A loose wheel was sent smashing through a gap in the safety fencing and killed a marshall.

Ecclestone, who has already warned Villeneuve, said: "Now I have to speak to Montoya before the situation escalates."

Whiting has also warned Villeneuve and Montoya, who will start this Sunday's race alongside each other on the fifth row of the grid, that they face a ban.

"I have spoken to both drivers and told them that if there is another little incident, one or both will watch two races from outside," he said.

The feud began last Friday when Villeneuve accused Montoya, who like his rival came into F1 after winning the CART title in the United States, of blocking him on the track during practice.

Juan Pablo Montoya
Montoya: criticised by Villeneuve and Irvine

But Montoya angrily hit back and claimed Villeneuve had brake tested him at a chicane when he did overtake him during the session.

Montoya is reported to have told Villeneuve at the drivers' briefing: "Do that again and I will put you in the wall."

Villeneuve responded: "I will put you in the tree."

Montoya reportedly replied: "You have already killed someone this season."

Meanwhile, Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine, who qualified in 15th place on the grid, has backed Villeneuve in his criticism of Montoya.

Irvine said: "Montoya is obstructive on the track and he gets in your way, he crashes into people... but everyone raves about him.

"He persistently qualifies massively behind Ralf (Schumacher) and races a lot slower so I think the press have pumped him up and he's got to keep up his image.

"He is lacking in certain areas. Indycars I think is a bit more about bullying the car around, Formula One is about skill and finesse and he hasn't quite mastered it yet."

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