Montoya makes first public appearance at Autosport

Barber Pro Series race winner Juan Pablo Montoya made his first public appearance as a BMW-WilliamsF1 driver this morning at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, England. The Colombian first appeared on the Autosport Stage to a massive...

Barber Pro Series race winner Juan Pablo Montoya made his first public appearance as a BMW-WilliamsF1 driver this morning at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, England. The Colombian first appeared on the Autosport Stage to a massive throng of spectators on this the first public-show day.

Montoya exuded his usual confidence, though he conceded that it would be a steep learning curve. He was however genuinely thrilled about his return to Williams and about making his first Grand Prix start. Montoya was the test driver for Williams in 1998 and was the lynchpin of the Zanardi swap between Williams and Chip Ganassi. The rapid development pace in F1 meant that the cars had changed dramatically since Montoya last drove a Williams. In spite of that, he has adapted instantly to the cars, and has been on the pace in the preseason tests conducted thus far. Though grooved tires were introduced while Montoya was racing in America, he did conduct the initial tests on the grooved tires in 1998. Montoya expressed confidence not only in his ability to perform at the sharp end of the stick in his rookie season, but also confidence in Michelin to produce a competitive tire in its returning season to F1.

After the Autosport Stage, Montoya was off to the F1 section of the Autosport Show where he sat for several television interviews then posed for a media and fan photo opportunity followed by an autograph session. The crowds lined up rows deep to get a chance to see Montoya close up, including the usual contingent of Colombian flag-wearing fans that have been common-place at the ChampCar events over the last two years.

-George Tamayo

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