Juan Pablo Montoya said his decision to switch to McLaren for 2005 was a desire to move on to new challenges, and claimed disagreements with Williams had nothing to do with it. He has since admitted things with the team were not brilliant last...
Juan Pablo Montoya said his decision to switch to McLaren for 2005 was a desire to move on to new challenges, and claimed disagreements with Williams had nothing to do with it. He has since admitted things with the team were not brilliant last year and team technical director Patrick Head thinks a row after the French GP last July was the defining factor.
"I think Juan was not impressed at having his knuckles rapped," Head was quoted as saying by the BBC. "And I know the decision to sign with McLaren was taken within a few days of that incident."
"Juan incorrectly thought we had notified Ralf of his actions and called Ralf in one lap early, so he was pretty strong on the radio abusing the team. And then I think he went into a bit of a sulk and backed off and cruised to the end of the race and maybe finished 15 or 20 seconds behind Ralf."
"In fact, as it happened in that last bit of the race, Ralf made a bit of an error and slipped wide. Had Juan been on his tail he probably could have taken advantage of it."
"Verbally abusing the team continuously on the radio we didn't think was appropriate when the guys had worked their nuts off on the car and done some fantastic pitstops. Juan didn't like that very much. We did talk about it. We thought we couldn't have a situation where he pretty much accused everyone in the team from top to bottom of being incompetent twice."
Despite the disagreements, Head is sorry to see Montoya leave: "Juan is a passionate character and by virtue of that he sometimes makes impulsive decisions and comes to impulsive conclusions," he commented. "He's a great talent and we're sad to see him go."
One cannot help but wonder how a passionate and impulsive individual will fare with McLaren, a team not exactly well known for being associated with those characteristics.