The 1999 CART champion and 2000 Indy 500 winner, Montoya was a sensation when he moved to Method 1 in 2001 with Williams
With a aggressive FW23 and highly effective BMW engine Montoya was one of many few drivers who may problem the good Michael Schumacher in his dominant Ferrari years, first making the German conscious of his arrival with a daring overtake on the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Notoriously affected by reliability points, Williams was no issue within the championship that yr, however Montoya did handle to take three poles and rating his maiden win on Ferrari’s house turf at Monza.
Montoya ended up taking seven wins throughout campaigns at Williams and McLaren earlier than leaving part-way by the 2006 season, returning to the US for stints in NASCAR and IndyCar, which yielded one other Indy 500 win.
Finally weekend’s Ferrari Finali Mondiali occasion, an annual celebration of the model at Mugello, Montoya lastly managed to get behind the wheel of the workforce he competed towards so ferociously throughout six F1 seasons.
Montoya received behind the wheel of a 2008-spec Ferrari F2008 automotive owned by his DragonSpeed WEC team-mate Henrik Hedman.
“My team-mate this yr, Henrik Hedman, invited us to drive the automotive and it has been actually cool. It has been an incredible expertise,” he stated.
“, it is a automotive we at all times competed towards in F1. And it is unusual to have the ability to come right here and drive an F1 automotive in Mugello. I imply, it would not get so much higher than this.”
Juan Pablo Montoya, Ferrari F2008
Along with his velocity and unflappable perspective in the direction of Schumacher and Ferrari, Montoya shortly grew to become a fan favorite world wide – and a nemesis for the tifosi.
However Montoya believes his Latin aptitude and aggression was additionally appreciated by the Italian followers, even when they could not root for him on a race weekend.
Requested what his expertise was wish to be public enemy primary when he gained the 2001 Italian Grand Prix, Montoya recommended there have been loads of “combined emotions” amongst Ferrari followers seeing him beat the Scuderia.
“You needed to beat them each week, what I imply?,” he stated.
“Particularly for those who got here to Italy, the place you at all times need to beat them [at] and we have been at all times superb at Monza, so it was at all times very particular.
“It was attention-grabbing as a result of by being Colombian and the Latino factor, I feel loads of Italians actually appreciated me. So, I feel it was loads of combined emotions.
“However Ferrari at all times has a lot custom and all the things, and to have the ability to in spite of everything these years really get in a single and do some laps was very nice.”
Requested about his expertise of sampling the Ferrari F2008, which famously virtually propelled Felipe Massa to the world championship till an unforgettable title showdown in Brazil, Montoya admitted he had to withstand the urge to take such a legendary, invaluable chassis to the restrict.
“Each automotive could be very completely different,” he stated when requested how the Ferrari in comparison with his automobiles at Williams and McLaren.
“I by no means thought after I left Williams that I used to be going to get right into a McLaren and it ought to drive very related, and it wasn’t. It was an enormous shock in the beginning.
“Driving that is troublesome to know, as a result of the tyres are so much tougher than what we raced, however the feeling of the automotive is very nice, you possibly can inform how properly all the things is completed within the automotive.
“It is arduous since you need to drive it actually arduous, however you do not need to make a mistake and injury anyone else’s automotive! If you consider it, that automotive is the final time Ferrari gained a constructors’ championship…”