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Juan Pablo Montoya

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Biography

Juan Pablo Montoya Roldán (born September 20, 1975 in Bogotá, Colombia) is a race car driver in NASCAR for Chip Ganassi Racing and a former Formula One and Indycar driver. He was born in Bogotá where he was taught the techniques of karting from an early age by his father Pablo, an architect and motorsport enthusiast. He has enjoyed great success, most famously in top open wheel racing series.

In 2000 the Ganassi team switched to Toyota engines and Lola chassis. The package was strong for ovals and high speed tracks, but was less well suited to street and most road circuits. Toyota’s engines were not yet reliable and often failed the team. Despite this, Montoya led more laps than anyone else and took the maiden victory for a Toyota engine in the series. He was also the most popular driver, but in a season where he failed to finish in 40% of the races, he was out of contention for the championship.

Montoya showed great potential from the beginning. Critics and fans alike anticipated that he would challenge for the World Drivers' Championship. During the first half of his Formula One career he consolidated his position as a fast driver and a race win challenger and also became a title contender during 2003 but the hopes of fighting for the title gradually faded as stronger and more consistent challengers arrived on the scene.

Montoya has been criticized during his Formula One career for his unreliability and tendency to make costly mistakes. His driving style is too characteristic of the 80's Formula One era. In this matter it is difficult to build a car that suits him well as engineers and aerodynamicists have adapted their work to build chassis that are more appropriate to a more fine and soft, and perhaps less live, driving style.

Entering his sixth season, in 2006, it was evident that Juan Pablo Montoya had not developed into the title contender that racing fans and the media had predicted. In particular after five full seasons the necessary consistency never materialised. However, he often challenged for race victories and was voted top Latin American driver at the Premios Fox Sports awards in 2003 and 2005

Although the 2003 chassis was built by the team specifically for Montoya's driving style, the machine needed time to be developed. Problems with oversteer were still present, often resulting in 360º spins in front of the crowd, in addition to reliability problems with the BMW engine.

Bad luck for rivals and excellent on-track performances from the Colombian meant he was a title contender, particularly after a key victory at the German Grand Prix. Williams, however, were unable to keep pace with the latest developments from Ferrari. Montoya failed to claim another victory that year. A drive-through penalty at the United States Grand Prix after a collision with Ferrari's Barrichello ended his title chances in the last race he would finish in 2003.Juan Pablo Montoya driving for Williams at the 2004 US GP.

The Canadian Grand Prix saw Montoya pull off a stunning overtaking move on Michael Schumacher on the opening lap, but contact with Nico Rosberg on the next lap and a mistake at the last corner resulted in Montoya bracing the wall and damaging the car, leading to retirement.

Before the start of the NASCAR season 06/07 , Montoya won the 24 Hours of Daytona sports car race with teammates Scott Pruett and Salvador Duran.



 


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