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Montoya feels Formula 1 has become more relaxed: It was a tough world

Montoya feels Formula 1 has become more relaxed: "It was a tough world"

21-08-2021 16:41 Last update: 18:26

Former Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya has been active in American motorsports for a long time now. This weekend he can be found in France, competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on behalf of the DragonSpeed Racing team.

From 2001 until 2006 Montoya was active in Formula 1, of which he was on the grid together with Jos Verstappen for two seasons. However, there was usually quite a lot of space between the two drivers. "Jos did not really have a competitive car", says the Colombian against "Everyone always said he was super fast, but unfortunately he didn't manage to make the most of his career."

According to Montoya, the atmosphere in the paddock back then was very different from today. "Everyone was quite on their own, nobody was friends with each other. The only drivers I talked to were Rubens Barrichello and Fernando Alonso, and occasionally Felipe Massa," continued the 45-year-old driver. "I grew up with the idea that you had to beat each other, and not make friendships in the sport. Formula 1 was a tough world. Nowadays it's a bit more relaxed, partly because of social media."

Montoya looks back on incident with Verstappen

A moment that many Dutch Formula 1 viewers will remember took place during the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix. Montoya seemed well on his way to his first victory, until he lapped Verstappen and the Arrows collided with him. The Colombian reacted very cool to the incident at the time, and also has a sober outlook on it afterwards. "Even if that hadn't happened I probably wouldn't have won that race", he explains, referring to the rain later in the race, in which the Michelin tyres didn't perform as well as the Bridgestone ones.

"But thanks to Jos I looked like a hero", Montoya laughs. "Of course I was angry then, but it was what it was. Besides, at the time something regularly broke down in the car, so maybe I would have crashed out because of something else. I was just happy that I had overtaken Michael Schumacher and was leading the race", he recalls.

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