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Juan Pablo Montoya
"It is the goal of every driver."
 real 14k

Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Williams admits Montoya is the man
Juan Pablo Montoya
Montoya is expected to do well with Williams
The Williams Formula One team has finally admitted one of the worst-kept secrets of the year - it has signed the Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya for the next two seasons.

The 25-year-old will partner German Ralf Schumacher in the team, Williams announced on Thursday.

Montoya has been chosen in preference to Briton Jenson Button, who has been loaned to Benetton for the two years of Montoya's contract.

Button has impressed greatly after being given his F1 break by Williams this year.


But the 20-year-old was only ever a fill-in until the team could exercise its option to buy Montoya out of his contract with Ganassi Racing, for which he won the 1999 FedEx Championship series, his first season in the US-based category.

Montoya is renowned as an aggressive driver with superb car control who fears no one.

He said: "Everyone is beatable - even Michael Schumacher. He's got two arms, two legs, two eyes and a brain, just like anyone else. With the Williams team working behind me, I'm sure I'm going to be fine."

Jenson Button
Button has been loaned out to make way for Montoya

But he is trying to play down the already high expectations of his performance in his first season.

"Williams was competitive with Jacques Villeneuve when he moved across from Champ Car racing, but people should not expect me to win in my first year like I did when I was in America.

"I don't know anybody who has gone to F1 and won the title in their first year."

Montoya is rated extremely highly by the Williams team founder Frank Williams and his partner Patrick Head, the team's technical director, who are excited by the explosive and improvisational nature of his ability. They believe he has the potential to be a future world champion.

Car control

Head said that Williams' only doubt about Montoya in whether he was as committed as he could be to the technical side of his racing.

"He's a very driven racing driver, eager to succeed and bright enough to work out you've got to do that and work out of the car in order to be successful on the track," Head said. "I'm sure he is all those things.

"Frank thinks he relies too heavily on his talent. I'm not sure I'd use the word lazy. He is immensely talented and he's been able to rely enormously on massive car control and that means sometimes he isn't too fussy about spending hours with his engineer. Frank has tried to impress on him that he's got to work.

Patrick Head
Head believes Montoya has massive talent

"With people like Michael [Schumacher] and Ayrton [Senna], it wasn't just their large talent in the car. It was that talent to make things happen for themselves by the way they conduct themselves out of the car.

"So much of what a driver achieves is done by the way he conducts himself with the people around him and his understanding of how to use those skills.

"Whether Juan Pablo has that ability only the future will tell. His [ultimate] level in F1 is only something we'll see in the future."

Williams has Button on a long-term contract and will have to decide whether for 2003 it wants to keep Montoya, bring Button back or have both instead of Schumacher, whose contract runs out at the end of 2002.

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See also:

18 Sep 00 |  Motorsport
Montoya streaks to victory
07 Sep 00 |  Motorsport
Ralf criticises Button loan deal
11 Aug 00 |  Motorsport
Fisichella stays with Benetton
17 Aug 00 |  Motorsport
Future bright for Button
17 Aug 00 |  Motorsport
Button for Benetton
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