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banner Monday, 2 April, 2001, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
A new F1 star is born
Juan Pablo Montoya's Brazilian GP passing move on Michael Schumacher
Montoya stunned Schumacher with his brilliant move
By BBC Sport Online's Andrew Benson

When Ayrton Senna was rocking the establishment in his debut Formula One season, a leading driver of the time remarked that it was appropriate the Brazilian's name had laxative connotations.

"That's the effect Senna has on me," the driver said.

After Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, it is likely that many of today's F1 stars are having similar thoughts about Juan Pablo Montoya.

Three races into the Colombian's Grand Prix career, it is perhaps a bit early to be likening Montoya to the man who is arguably the greatest driver of all time.


I get the feeling Montoya might be something special
  Geoff Willis
Williams designer

Yet there seems little doubt that Montoya is poised to shake up F1 like few before him. Already it is clear that he is the most exciting debutant since Michael Schumacher stormed on to the scene in 1991.

In fact, perhaps like Roy Keane watching Steven Gerrard in Liverpool's 2-0 defeat of Manchester United on Saturday, Schumacher may well have felt himself a little haunted by a vision of the future on Sunday.

Montoya's sensational overtaking move on the undisputed king of F1 put the German in his place like very few have done before.

Both Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard have put successful and aggressive moves on Schumacher in the last year - the Scot's latest a brilliant pass to secure a superb victory at Interlagos.

But for Montoya to do it in only his third F1 outing is something else again. And the manner of it took the breath away.

Montoya's overtaking manoeuvre had everything - dash, flair, improvisation, bravery and car control in equal and superlative measure.

Juan Pablo Montoya
Montoya is not intimidated by F1's existing stars

Schumacher was elbowed aside in a manner he is used to dispensing, and Montoya's message was clear - take notice, boys, I'm here and I mean business.

The fact that he did this with a much heavier fuel load than the Ferrari driver - Montoya was stopping once, Schumacher twice - makes it all the more special.

It was perhaps no surprise that Montoya then went on to lead the race with such aplomb - this is after all a man who won the US-based Champ Car series in his debut season.

F1, though, is another matter altogether. Many drivers arrive at the sport's highest echelon with rave notices only to be swamped by the uniquely-pressured environment with which Grand Prix racing smothers its competitors.

Montoya, though, does not look likely to go the same way.

For the revitalised Williams-BMW team, which drafted in Montoya to replace Jenson Button this year, all this is no surprise.

'Fearsome package'

"He gives a feeling of a man who knows where he's going," says Williams' chief aerodynamicist, Geoff Willis.

"He's not intimidated, he's clearly intelligent, and he gives good [technical] feedback. It's the same feeling I had when I met Ralf [Schumacher, Williams' other driver] for the first time.

"All these drivers have huge self-confidence, but I just get the feeling Montoya might be something special.

"It's the way they turn up in the garage: 'I'm the guy. I'm in charge. I can take it.'

Frank Williams
Williams has had his eye on Montoya for years

"It's a fearsome package, and I remember saying to [team owner] Frank [Williams] some time ago: 'I don't know how you pick them, but I think you've got it right this time.'"

Such is Montoya's confidence in what he will achieve, in fact, that he could afford to be phlegmatic about his crass removal from what seemed an almost certain victory by backmarker Jos Verstappen.

"I am disappointed, of course," Montoya said, "as it was going to be one of the best days of my life and it turned unluckily into a bad one.

"But the car was really fast and had been performing very well throughout the weekend. Williams, BMW and Michelin did a fantastic job. Better things will come."

You can be sure of that.

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See also:

01 Apr 01 |  Formula One
Coulthard's delight after Brazil win
02 Apr 01 |  Formula One
Verstappen fined $15,000
01 Apr 01 |  Formula One
Montoya keeps his cool
23 Feb 01 |  Motorsport
The flying boy from Bogota
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