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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 15:39 GMT
Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya is without doubt the most exciting driver in Formula One, but the 2003 season proved that he is some way from being the finished article.

Montoya has shown enough basic speed and aggression to prove that he has the talent to take on Michael Schumacher and beat him in a straight fight.

Yet the Colombian, despite showing a lot of promise, still has an awful lot to learn.

His speed is not in question. He took seven pole positions in 2002 - as many as Schumacher - in a car that was nowhere near as good as the Ferrari.

Born: 20/9/75
Nationality: Colombian
First GP: Australia 2001
Wins: 3
2003 position: 3rd
Previous teams: N/A

At least two of those laps - in Monaco and Silverstone - were truly stunning, proving that in terms of absolute pace Montoya lacks nothing at all.

And he is without doubt the most exciting racer in F1 - he has a rare gift for improvisation, a hard-nosed approach to racing and something close to genius at overtaking.

But insiders at his Williams team say that he has yet to get the most from his precocious talent.

Indeed, for much of the first half of 2003, he was overshadowed by team-mate Ralf Schumacher.

In particular, Williams say Montoya still does not know how to get the best out of his car, and they are also worried about his commitment.

They believe he is not fit enough, and that he does not work hard enough at his job.

And when it came to the crunch in Indianapolis, it also became clear that he was far from impervious to pressure.

Frank Williams has told Montoya that he should model himself on Michael Schumacher, the man he is trying to beat.

It is not yet clear whether Montoya has taken the message on board.

But one can only hope he does, because a talent like this does not come along very often, and it would be a shame to waste it.

F1 2003

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