Juan Pablo Montoya made his debut for the West McLaren Mercedes Formula One team as preparations for the 2005 season commenced at the Circuit de Catalunya just outside Barcelona in Spain earlier today. The Colombian emerged overall fastest from...
Juan Pablo Montoya made his debut for the West McLaren Mercedes Formula One team as preparations for the 2005 season commenced at the Circuit de Catalunya just outside Barcelona in Spain earlier today. The Colombian emerged overall fastest from the testing session with a time of 1m14.203 and completed 52 laps at the wheel of a MP4-19B which the team used in the 2004 World Championship.
Juan Pablo will complete his first test for the team on Friday 26th November and is joined in Spain by Third Driver Alexander Wurz (24th - 25th November) and Test Driver Pedro de la Rosa (26th - 27th November). The following weeks will see Juan Pablo continue testing at the Jerez track also in Spain where he will work alongside new team mate Kimi Raikkonen for the first time.
"The main aim of this first test for Juan Pablo is to allow him to familiarise himself with the team and how we operate," commented Test Team Manager Indy Lall. "He seems to have settled in well and is getting to know everybody in the test team. We will continue to go through our planned programme for the remainder of this test."
"I'm very pleased that Juan Pablo seems to be fitting in well with the team and we are all looking forward to working with him," said Ron Dennis, Team Principal West McLaren Mercedes and Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group.
"Juan Pablo doesn't become an official West McLaren Mercedes driver until 1st January 2005 as he still has commercial obligations for BMW Williams and their sponsors, so we are very grateful that Frank (Williams) has allowed Juan Pablo to commence his testing programme now. Reports from Spain tell me that everything is going well and that the team and Juan Pablo are working well together. There is a lot of work ahead of us to ensure that we are in the best possible shape to challenge for the 2005 Formula One World Championships."
"We are all welcoming Juan Pablo to the team after only a month's break following the last race in Brazil," said Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. "We are preparing ourselves for next year. Juan Pablo's first day of testing for the team went well, but as usual during the winter testing lap times do not mean a lot."
"Its been an exciting day today and the first time I actually went out of the garage in a West McLaren Mercedes Formula One car was special," said Juan Pablo Montoya. "I know a lot of the guys in the team already and am really looking forward to working with everybody. At the moment I'm still struggling with remembering everybody's names but that is only natural. There is a lot of work to do for all of us before Christmas and I can't wait."