Montoya expects tougher qualifying

Reactions to the new qualifying system, which starts next season, have so far been positive, if a little cautious. 'Interesting' has been a word often used to describe what kind of outcome drivers expect and Juan Pablo Montoya is the latest to ...

Reactions to the new qualifying system, which starts next season, have so far been positive, if a little cautious. 'Interesting' has been a word often used to describe what kind of outcome drivers expect and Juan Pablo Montoya is the latest to concur. The Williams driver took seven pole positions in 2002, as well as the fastest ever qualifying lap in the history of Formula One, but Montoya expects 2003 to be more of a challenge.

Juan Pablo Montoya.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
"I think it's going to be tougher next season with just one run," he told the BMW website. "This year we seemed to struggle with the set-up at the beginning of each qualifying. As the session went on, we managed to improve the car. Now you have to get the car ready earlier. It's going to be a challenge to know how far you can push."

"You might lose a lot of time by only one single mistake. And then you drop down three or four places in the grid. It's going to be very interesting what people will do. It's going to make the grid a bit more interesting. You will probably see a Ferrari or one of our cars starting from position ten. It will happen. We have 16 races next year, and it's unlikely that you have 16 perfect laps in qualifying."

Montoya finished 2002 third overall in the Driver's Championship despite none of his pole positions translating into a race win. The new qualifying arrangement has caused the most comment of the rule changes implemented by the FIA for 2003: although it may not make a difference every time, most expect a few surprises in grid positions on some occasions.

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