Jun.8 (GMM) Protesters attempted to disrupt an event attended by Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday.

The F1 chief executive - as well as other F1 dignitaries including 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve - was at a cocktail gala for this weekend's Formula One race in Montreal when riot police moved in on a group of masked protesters.

About 20 were arrested, the Canadian Press reported.

They spoke, we heard, and now it's time to go back to school.

Jacques Villeneuve

Asked what message he had for protesting university students, former Williams and Sauber driver Villeneuve answered: "Go back to school.

"It's time for people to wake up and stop loafing about. It's lasted long enough," he blasted.

"They spoke, we heard, and now it's time to go back to school."

Ecclestone said he hoped the protesters would not attempt to disrupt the actual track action this weekend.

"It would be terrible if somebody got killed like that, you know, running across the track," said the 81-year-old.

Usually the most vocal driver on political matters is the plain-speaking Australian Mark Webber.

"I'm not completely up to speed with what's going on," the Monaco winner said on Thursday.

"I'm not saying it's a minority, but sometimes when there's a little bit of tension then some other people can lose out.

"I'm sure the weekend will go well," Webber added.