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The track invasion in Montreal

JEAN ALESI'S popular victory in Montreal yesterday sparked a track invasion by over-enthusiastic race fans which will cause problems for the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the months ahead.

As soon as Alesi crossed the finishing line in Montreal fans began to pour onto the circuit. There were hundreds down near the finishing line when Olivier Panis and Michael Schumacher arrived fighting for fourth place. Luckily, no-one was hit. A few moments later there was further drama for Mika Salo and Luca Badoer. Salo had been leading the Minardi driver by nearly a minute but slowed up when he found fans all over the road. The Tyrrell team did the responsible thing and radioed the Finn to stop his car to avoid any chance of an incident with the spectators.

Badoer and the Minardi team did not use such good sense. Luca arrived at high speed and accelerated down the road towards the finishing line. Seeing this happening Salo decided that he must cross the line and so accelerated away and crossed the finishing line side by side with the Minardi.

When there were similar track invasions at Monza and Silverstone in the past, both circuits had to take precautions to stop the fans invading again in order to satisfy their insurers that the track was worth insuring. This involved the construction of high fences to keep the fans off the race track. It is likely, therefore, that by next year when F1 returns to the Ile Notre Dame in Montreal the fans will find themselves unable to get anywhere near the track - and they only have themselves to blame.

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