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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Montoya criticises Jaguar
Alexander Wurz
Wurz is on Jaguar's hit-list

Williams star Juan Pablo Montoya has criticised the expected decision of the Jaguar team to sack their struggling driver Antonio Pizzonia.

This weekend's Spanish Grand Prix is likely to be Pizzonia's last race with the team before he is replaced by Austrian Alexander Wurz, currently McLaren's test driver.

But Montoya believes Jaguar should stick by Pizzonia, who impressed the Colombian and his team bosses when he was test driver for Williams last year.

"I don't understand why they would want to sack him. It's sad to say, but it's very typical Jaguar. Its not the first time they have done it is it? I guarantee if they give the guy a bit more time he will do the job," said Montoya.

"He has done four races, he hasn't even begun to understand how everything works and already they are trying to sack him."

Pizzonia's drive is under threat because he has been comprehensively outpaced by Australian team-mate Mark Webber this season.

Montoya, who believes the Brazilian is trying too hard and making mistakes as a consequence, said: "Antonio tested with us and the guy is very quick.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Antonio Pizzonia
They should be giving him a hand, telling him to calm down. He needs quite a bit of support
Juan Pablo Montoya

"Webber is in his second season of F1 and he seems to be a lot wiser than Antonio so mentally he has done a better job.

"That's been very hard for Antonio. When somebody is quicker than you, you either deal with it or you begin to struggle. I don't think he knows how to deal with it.

"I think he is more concerned with Webber, wondering what is he doing, why is he quicker but if he just concentrates on himself he will make the car go quicker.

"I saw Antonio today and told him 'Look you have got to forget about Webber and focus on making your car go quicker. If you do that you are going to be fine'.

"At Jaguar they don't have the right people to guide him. They are just saying 'Look you are not doing a good job'.

"They should be giving him a hand, telling him to calm down. He needs quite a bit of support.

"If you lose your mental battle you are done, for at least six months, depending on how strong you are. When mentally you are down, particularly driving, you are not going to be at 100%.

"If Antonio does bad here it will be really bad."

The decision to get rid of Pizzonia will be seen to reflect badly on Jaguar, who employed him as a novice over the winter in place of the experienced Pedro de la Rosa.

There is nothing other than an arm around the shoulders with Antonio as far as I am concerned
David Pitchforth
Jaguar managing director

The Spaniard, who now tests for McLaren alongside Wurz, was paid off with his full salary, reputed to be around $1m.

Jaguar promoted De la Rosa from test driver to a race seat after sacking Brazilian Luciano Burti after just four races in 2001.

Pizzonia said: "The reason I have been going through all these problems is a lack of track time because I have had reliability problems.

"I honestly do not know what my position is, as far as I know this was the year for me to learn the tracks and that is still the case."

Managing director David Pitchforth admitted there had been "very high-level" talks with Wurz, but added: "There is nothing other than an arm around the shoulders with Antonio as far as I am concerned, nobody has mentioned anything other than trying to work our way out of this."




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