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JUNE 8, 2001

It's all in a name for Villeneuve's restaurant

BRITISH AMERICAN RACING driver Jacques Villeneuve's restaurant in Montreal has caused a stir after its official opening this week.

The Canadian driver opened the Newtown restaurant this week, with the name a literal English translation of his family name.

The naming of the restaurant, however, has caused some Canadian traditionalists to criticize the 1997 World Champion for not having a French element, but Villeneuve has simply laughed off the critics as he seems relaxed ahead of his home race.

"To tell you the truth, to see that people can actually be so offended by a name just makes me want to laugh," said Villeneuve.

"It is a place with a French-Mediterranean feel and full, I hope, of fun. It's somewhere I can go to drink my own coffee, too. But this reaction is ridiculous.

"You really do have to see further than the end of your nose. It's a big world. I've been living outside Canada for most of my life and I never grew up with people telling me these things.

"I grew up in Switzerland where people speak three or four languages and no-one gets angry."

Villeneuve's rival David Coulthard was declined a table on the opening night at Newtown because it was too busy and the restaurant is sure to be a roaring success in a city where Villeneuve is very popular.