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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
McLaren agree to release Montoya
Juan Pablo Montoya
Montoya will be replaced by Pedro de la Rosa
Juan Pablo Montoya has been released by McLaren with immediate effect following his decision to quit for Nascar at the end of the season.

The Colombian will be replaced by test driver Pedro de la Rosa for the rest of the present campaign.

"I know it will be a tough transition but I'm excited about the chance to move into Nascar," said Montoya.

"I'm grateful for this opportunity to settle my personal life and concentrate on my future career."

The 30-year-old announced last weekend that he would be leaving Formula One for Nascar.

Montoya, who has won seven races since moving to the sport in 2001, has had a disappointing season this year with only two podium finishes.

And his last race in Formula One saw him run into the back of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap of the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis - an incident which led to both cars crashing out.

I'm of course extremely thrilled to have this opportunity to race a car in which I'm really comfortable

Pedro de la Rosa

Montoya will now spend the next few months at his home in Miami preparing for the 2007 Nascar campaign with team owner Chip Ganassi.

"We have agreed that with so many things happening in Juan Pablo's life right now, he should take some time out of the car and prepare professionally and personally for the future," said McLaren team boss Ron Dennis.

"Juan Pablo is an exciting driver and immensely likeable character who will undoubtedly make a successful transition to the Nascar scene."

De La Rosa will make his second appearance for McLaren when he takes over from Montoya at the French Grand Prix this weekend.

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The Spaniard finished fifth and set the fastest lap when standing in for Montoya in Bahrain last year.

"I'm of course extremely thrilled to have this opportunity to race a car in which I'm really comfortable," said De la Rosa.

"I know the car better than anyone and I'm confident I can achieve important championship points for the team."

McLaren have already signed world champion Fernando Alonso from Renault for next year.

And if Raikkonen moves to either Renault or Ferrari, the door could be open for McLaren's British hopefuls Lewis Hamilton or Gary Paffett to make the step up to Formula One.



SEE ALSO
Montoya set to quit F1 for Nascar
09 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Montoya leaves void in F1
11 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Montoya 'not to blame for crash'
02 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Juan Pablo Montoya
16 Oct 05 |  Drivers
Alonso will join McLaren in 2007
19 Dec 05 |  Formula One
McLaren protege told to bide time
19 Dec 05 |  Formula One


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