Juan Pablo Montoya

7 of Montoya’s 13 career pole positions came in the 2002 season. |  With 30 podium finishes from 94 race starts Montoya, averaged 1 out of 3 results among the top three. |  Montoya gathered 82 points, the highest in his career, in the 2003 season when he finished 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship. |  Montoya overtook Michael Schumacher in just his third race in 2001.


Name: Juan Pablo Montoya
Nickname: Monty, Mont-ster
DOB: Sep 20 1975
Place Of Birth: Bogota
Nationality: Colombian
Most Races For: Williams - 68
Juan Pablo Montoya

Aggression can either make or break a Formula One racer. For Juan Pablo Montoya this trait did both. Known for his livewire driving style and rough handling of his car, Montoya would have imaginably done well in the turbocharged 80s. In an era where man and machine were both rugged and brutal, this Columbian would perhaps have been better off had he been born two decades prior to his time. But destiny had it otherwise, bringing him into an age of F1 marked by precision and accuracy, where there was no room for a ruthless driver. But he defied that theory by making a place for himself, all the same!

The year 2001 saw the BMW-Williams F1 team make an interesting driver change. Frank Williams signed on Juan Pablo Montoya - who at that time was earning a name for himself in Champ Car circles - as a replacement for Jenson Button. Fresh from an Indy 500 triumph in his very first attempt, a confident Montoya joined hands with teammate Ralf Schumacher in blue and white overalls at BMW-Williams for the Australian GP of 2001.

Just three races after that forgettable debut in which he had an engine failure, JPM showed initial signs of his undeniable talent, albeit carefree aggression. He made the Interlagos circuit stand still for a second, with a fantastic overtaking move that very few other drivers would have dared to execute! Crawling on the back of the Ferrari of defending World Champion Michael Schumacher, the rookie didn’t stop to pay his respects to the multiple world champion. Instead, he muscled his way past him with an overtaking manoeuvre that can only be termed as audacious! He not only showed the world his complete disregard for records and statistics but also proved that F1 can be a great leveller of sorts, where any man can be “the best” on a given day depending on his skill and performance. Not surprisingly, one taste of a tussle with the great Schumacher wasn’t enough for the courageous Columbian, he went on to lock horns with the Schumster several times in his 6-yr career with results that were just as sensational! At times he got the better of the “meister”, but at other times, Schumacher showed Montoya who the real champion was and consequently, which battles really mattered.

Through his debut season (2001) which was disastrous in terms of the number of finishes (or lack thereof), Montoya’s volatile driving allowed him to see the chequered flag only 6 times in 17 races. But five of those were podium finishes including his first F1 victory at the prestigious Italian GP.

There was unquestionable promise seen in his driving and it was but obvious that expectations soared before the 2002 season. Considering the fact that the Ferraris of Schumacher and Barrichello took 15 out of 17 races that year, Montoya did very well to finish third on the championship table. The following season (2003) also saw him finish third, although this time, he looked closer than ever to winning the title. But a stalling car and an unstoppable Schumacher took that prospect away. Disgruntled and desperately in need of a change of set up, the ‘Mont-ster’ chose to see out one more season at Williams and then made a switch to McLaren at the end of 2004.
Strained relationships with his team were sweetened by Montoya’s parting note; he gave BMW-Williams the gift of a sweet victory at the season finale at Interlagos, where he wore his blue and white overalls for the last time.

2005 saw McLaren pairing the much-anticipated “Fire ‘n Ice” duo of Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen. Although the Finn put up a commendable fight for the title that season, ‘Monty’ missed out thanks to a host of reasons including ill-luck (with a broken suspension in one race, a failed drive-shaft in another and disqualification in a third). An injury which kept him out of a couple of races, and an unreliable car also added fuel to the wrong fire. Despite all of that, he managed three classic race wins at Monza, Great Britain and at Brazil where he and Kimi gave McLaren their first 1-2 finish in a long time.

The final season in the career of the most successful Columbian F1 driver of all time, was unceremonious to say the least. He managed only two podium finishes and retired in five races. True to his unpredictable nature, Montoya did the unexpected after the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis that year. He shocked his team, his fans and the F1 fraternity at large, by announcing that he would be racing in the NASCAR series the following year. As a backlash to his decision, McLaren made another shocking announcement terminating his F1 career with immediate effect. Thus, Juan Pablo Montoya was not only robbed of a chance to complete his final season, he was also forced to seal his F1 statistics just five races short of his 100th GP. But despite that, he hung his F1 gloves with little regret and walked away leaving behind a memory of a daring, mercurial racer whose skill drew a fine line between ‘sublime’ and ‘volatile’.

-Mamta Joseph

  • GPs
YearTeamClaGPs WinsPolesPods FLsPts
Total 947133012307

Juan Pablo Montoya - HEAD TO HEAD (TEAM-MATES)

Juan Pablo Montoya - Season Performance

According to stats...

  • 7 of Montoya’s 13 career pole positions came in the 2002 season.
  • With 30 podium finishes from 94 race starts Montoya, averaged 1 out of 3 results among the top three.
  • Montoya gathered 82 points, the highest in his career, in the 2003 season when he finished 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship.
  • Montoya overtook Michael Schumacher in just his third race in 2001.


"His incredible skills at overtaking - to which he brings an improvisation, bravery, deftness and flair that has arguably never been seen before - are inseparable from his mercurial character. It is easy to forget that until Montoya's arrival in the sport in 2001, overtaking in modern F1 was considered so difficult as to be almost impossible. That is still the case, but Montoya has been able to transcend the limits imposed on drivers by complex aerodynamics and shorter braking distances and pull off passing moves that can only be described as breathtaking... The fact that no-one else has been able to emulate him merely underlines his astonishing ability - he will probably be remembered as the best overtaker in F1's history."
- Andrew Benson, Motorsports Editor, BBC on Montoya.


Most successful drivers to have raced with Juan Pablo Montoya

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