After weeks of speculation about Juan Pablo Montoya's future involvement with McLaren, it has been officially announced that the Colombian will be joining the team in 2005. Montoya is contracted to Williams for 2004 and although both he and...
After weeks of speculation about Juan Pablo Montoya's future involvement with McLaren, it has been officially announced that the Colombian will be joining the team in 2005. Montoya is contracted to Williams for 2004 and although both he and McLaren have recently skirted round the question of him driving for the Silver Arrows, it was widely presumed Juan Pablo would move to the Woking based squad.McLaren Mercedes," said Montoya in a statement released by McLaren on November 17th. "The team is consistently a strong World Championship contender and has a fantastic heritage. It's a great opportunity for me and I'm really looking forward to the first time I will be able to drive one of their cars."
"To join them is an amazing challenge and experience which I plan to fully enjoy. However, my short term aim is to concentrate 100 percent on winning the 2004 World Championship."
Ron Dennis, CEO and Chairman of the TAG McLaren Group said: "We want to win races and World Championships, and in order to do so we have to plan for the future whilst applying every effort in the short term. The opportunity to sign a talent like Juan Pablo was too good to miss, and there is already a considerable amount of anticipation within our team about 2005."
"Juan Pablo has achieved a considerable amount of success in his career and we are certain that he will add to this with West McLaren Mercedes. We are certainly looking forward to seeing what he can do in one of our cars and I believe that it's a prospect that can't fail to excite Formula One fans around the world. However until that happens we will be focusing all efforts on our 2004 Championship challenge."
Mercedes vice president Norbert Haug added: "Juan Pablo has become well established in International motor racing within a short time and will fit well into our team. We have been convinced of Juan Pablo's great talent since he drove a Mercedes-Benz C-Class touring car in the ITC round at Silverstone in 1996."
Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard are confirmed as McLaren drivers for 2004 and although the team did not say who would partner Montoya in 2005, it seems most likely Raikkonen will be the one staying put. Montoya's Williams teammate Ralf Schumacher is also due to end his contract at the end of 2004 so 2005 could see some big changes in team line-ups.