Ex-champions back Montoya for title

Ex-champions back Montoya for title

Former champion Niki Lauda has backed Juan Pablo Montoya to be this year's title winner, believing not only is it possible, it's probable. While others may disagree, Lauda thinks Williams driver Montoya has the advantage over championship leader...

Former champion Niki Lauda has backed Juan Pablo Montoya to be this year's title winner, believing not only is it possible, it's probable. While others may disagree, Lauda thinks Williams driver Montoya has the advantage over championship leader Michael Schumacher and if Williams' form continues, Ferrari will be left behind.

Juan Pablo Montoya.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"Montoya can become world champion by himself," Lauda said. "To do so he must win two points more than Michael Schumacher in each of the remaining four races. In Montoya's current situation, this is not only possible, but even probable. If the BMW WilliamsF1 Team can maintain their form, Ferrari are hardly going to stand a chance."

Another ex-champion, Jackie Stewart, also thinks Montoya can take the title: "Men of his calibre have an instinct for success if it is achievable," said Stewart. "That's why Juan has changed over the last four months. He has sensed that he must improve one more time. That makes him especially strong and dangerous now. Today he doesn't leave as much to chance as he used to".

Ferrari, obviously, is not going to give in without a fight. Schumacher is currently six points ahead of Montoya with four races to go this season. But not only Michael is fighting; Montoya's teammate Ralf Schumacher is still in contention and he's not giving up either.

"I'm sure I can do it," Ralf said. "I certainly haven't given up on the world championship. After all the bad luck I've had lately, I should be on the sunny side again this time. I'm still hoping, no doubt." However, Schumacher Junior also has the Constructors' championship in mind. "If I get the chance to secure the world championship title for my team, I'll do everything I can to make it happen," he added.

After his victory at the German Grand Prix, Montoya himself is staying cautious about his chances: "Now we're second in the championship and we just have to keep scoring and then wait and see what happens," he commented. "I can't say I'm going to win it or not; we simply have to keep pushing until Suzuka."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Williams