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FIA safety delegate Whiting warns drivers

FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting has warned the drivers that they face serious sanctions or bans from Formula One next season if they intentionally interfere with the outcome of the Japanese Grand Prix.

At a drivers' briefing on Friday, Whiting told the drivers that anyone who deliberately jeopardizes the race of title contenders Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen will be severely reprimanded.

Ralf Schumacher, the younger brother of Michael, said that Whiting told all the drivers that any serious actions could result in a three-race ban next season.

"Charlie Whiting told us he would not allow it and he is right," said Schumacher. "It should be a straight fight between Michael (Schumacher) and Mika (Hakkinen). It is right that the guys who interfere with it get punished. A three-race ban would be about right."

Whiting's firm guidelines at the routine briefing highlighted the FIA's desire to make the potential championship-deciding race in Japan as fair as possible.

The instructions from Whiting are not believed to prevent Michael Schumacher's Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello and Hakkinen's McLaren team-mate David Coulthard from helping, but it has made it clear that illegal driving or unsporting behavior will not be tolerated.

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