Skip Barber grad Juan Pablo Montoya learned a lot about Formula One last season and one key lesson to help him challenge for the title came from Michael Schumacher. "There is one area where he has greatly improved and continues to do so," said...
Skip Barber grad Juan Pablo Montoya learned a lot about Formula One last season and one key lesson to help him challenge for the title came from Michael Schumacher.
"There is one area where he has greatly improved and continues to do so," said team principal Frank Williams, discussing the Colombian's first season at the launch of the new FW24 car.
"He understands that when Michael [Schumacher] leaves the circuit, his mental application doesn't diminish at all. He's always thinking about how to make himself, his car and his team better.
"Juan is gradually spending more and more time doing a similar thing."
The 1994 Barber Pro Series racer, who won rave reviews for three memorable overtaking maneuvers on Ferrari's four times world champion, stood out in the second half of the season with a first victory at Monza in September.
The most exciting South American driver since the late Brazilian Ayrton Senna starts the season in Australia in March capable of matching Schumacher in and out of the car as Williams set their sights on the championship.
"If the car works and we work together then there's a possibility we could do it," said Montoya of Williams's chances of winning the constructors' crown.
Montoya also maintained it was the team boss who had first taken him aside and suggested he adopt a more focused approach: "He's the one who came and told me 'you know, you've got to really think about it and do this and do that.'"
Montoya, recently linked to Ferrari as a possible replacement for Schumacher when the German retires, admitted he might earn more money at another team but declared himself satisfied with his current deal.
He added that he could see himself staying at Williams long- term, possibly building up a similar environment to that enjoyed by Schumacher at the Italian team.
"I wouldn't mind. I think Williams and BMW have got a good relationship and a few years to go together still," he said.