(Bogotá, 1975) Colombian pilot. Be part of the select group of pilots of Formula 1 is a company that is within reach of very few, because motor racing is, undoubtedly, one of the sports that demand a higher level of requirement, courage and sacrifice. Adding to this difficulty is the fact to come from a country, Colombia, with big players and cyclists legendary, but devoid of automotive tradition, refers to the double merit of Juan Pablo Montoya, who the witness of the great riders picked up Argentine (Fangio, Reuteman) and Brazilians (Fittipaldi, Senna) from the past to lead, together with the Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, the South American representation in the Formula 1 of the new millennium.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Juan Pablo Montoya
Their fondness for the engine of Juan Pablo Montoya came to him through his father, Pablo Montoya, architect and pilot of racing who, after winning a competition, not resisted the temptation to sit your little baby, barely three months old, so accompany him in his triumphal return. This ritual is repeated in the future and who knows if it would not contribute to that child was soaking up the world of racing on four wheels.
Paul, the eldest of a family of four brothers (the other are Liliana, Catalina and Federico), received a car as a gift on his second anniversary; Since then it would be your most precious treasure. Precocious competitor, with only five years already began in a Go-Kart Championship, modality which became national champion in the child category the following year. During the 1980's, and under the tutelage of his father, he continued driving karts and accumulating National Championships in the category Junior and Komet.
In 1990, a fifteen year old Montoya crossed the Atlantic for the first time with his father; He moved to Lonato (Italy) and participated in the World Championship of karts in the Junior category. Thus began the international adventure of the young and promising Colombian pilot. In 1992 presented it the first opportunity to participate in a top level competition, but to do so he had to temporarily return to their country: enrolled in extremis by his father in Formula Renault, its premiere was brilliant, because he scored pole position in the first race, and at the end of the season, was runner-up after winning four of the eight races. The following year, in the Swift GTI Cup, it was hailed with the checkered flag of the winner in seven of the ten races.
In 1995, back to the old continent, managed, not without great efforts, participate in the season of the Vauxhall Lotus (England), which gained four victories. As a result he received an invitation to the Cup International Formula 3 disputed in British land, which came in second. With 26 years it came to form part of the Fortec in the Formula 3 British team, which managed two victories. The next step in his career was the Formula-3000, but the economic cost of the category was beyond their means. All seemed lost when emerged a ray of hope: the Austrian RSM Marko team relied on its possibilities. The young pilot did not disappoint, as he earned victories in France, Austria and Spain, and ended the season as runner-up in the category.
The year 1998 marked a point of inflection in the career of Montoya: integrated in the team Super Nova, was imposed on the Championship international of Formula-3000, at the time who became test pilot for one of the leading teams in Formula one, Williams. In 1999 he signed a three year contract with Target Chip Ganassi team, which participated in the category CART, competitive disputed modality in the United States where he was champion.
Since then, Montoya's fame increased in the same measure in which the official recognition of his countrymen did. The Colombian Government awarded him the cross of Boyacá, maximum award of the country, and the specialised press declared him best driver of the year. The sport of motor racing began to recruit an army of followers, similar to the decades of 1980 and 1990 Colombian "beetles" took them into around Spain, the Giro of Italy or the Tour de France.
The definitive consecration came in 2001, with its inclusion in the minority group of the Formula 1 drivers, framed in the Williams team. At the controls of one of the best machines of the circuit, he obtained the victory in the great prize of Italy at Monza, and the following year reached the third place on the podium in the final ranking of the season. Meanwhile, on 27 October 2002, Montoya was married to fellow Connie Freydell in Cartagena de Indias. Also in 2003 season won third place in the final classification, built as a real alternative to the tyranny of the world heptacampeon Michael Schumacher. Mythical figures of the steering wheel as Emerson Fittipaldi or Jackie Stewart Scottish addressed him high praise and augured new triumphs.
The following year, however, the deficiencies of his car harmed its competitiveness and its progression was braking; He finished the 2004 season in a creditable fifth place, and signed for the McLaren-Mercedes team, which would be in the next two years. In 2005, a shoulder injury prevented him from participating in two races, but won three Grands Prix and finished fourth overall. But the bad relations with the McLaren, Ron Dennis, team leader as well as the Organization and arbitrations, would lead to Montoya to leave Formula 1 in the 2006 season, which even ended. This left Montoya to drive: the same 2006 went to the Nascar category, which would continue competing in successive years. Their good state of form was demonstrated in a feat few reach: winning two consecutive editions (2007-2008) of the famous 24 hours of Daytona.