The United States Grand Prix was Juan Pablo Montoya’s last. He decided to move to Nascar — ridiculously boring stock car oval racing in the States — after no decent long-term opportunities within Formula 1 emerged. His team boss Ron Dennis dumped him immediately, and Pedro de la Rosa will take his place for the time being.
There is no doubt that Juan Pablo Montoya was a character. His ballsy racing style earned him a lot of fans. Unfortunately for him, it also earned him a lot of detractors. Many saw him as error-prone and perhaps even dangerous, causing too many accidents. Don’t forget that his last action as an F1 driver was to crash into his team mate and take out about a quarter of the entire field in one go.
In the press conference where Montoya announced his move to Nascar, he said that he couldn’t wait to get back to racing and touching wheels — because if you do that in F1 you are an animal.
A lot of people will miss him, but similar things were said when Eddie Irvine left F1 aswell. It will be very interesting to see how Montoya does in Nascar. Personally, I would be amazed if he could stay awake.
F1Fanatic has a good post on Montoya’s move to Nascar.
The French Grand Prix was Franck Montagny’s last — for the time being at least. He was brought in hastily as a replacement for the disastrous Yuji Ide at Super Aguri. Aguri seem determined to have an all-Japanese line-up, so the Frenchman’s place was never going to be secure.
Montagny’s season has gone largely unnoticed. But let’s face it — it’s difficult to be noticed in a Super Aguri unless you completely lose it like Yuji Ide or slam it into the wall like Takuma Sato. It is really easy to feel sorry for Montagny. He did Renault’s dirty work as a test driver, and no doubt he made important contributions to the incredible rise of the French team over the past three or four years.
Unfortunately, like many test drivers, he has never been given a decent chance at a proper race drive. And like many test drivers when he did get a chance it was in a piss-poor car. You would need more than your fingers and toes to count the number of drivers in such a situation — Pedro de la Rosa, Anthony Davidson, Alexander Wurz, Marc Gené, Luca Badoer, Ricardo Zonta… And who’s to say that people like Heikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica, Lewis Hamilton and Gary Paffett won’t find themselves in a similar trap?
Franck Montagny showed just as much potential as the four promising youngsters I have just listed. Sadly it looks as though Montagny is just yet another one of those drivers who had to make do with the biscuit crumbs left over. In the weekend that France is celebrating 100 years of Grand Prix motor racing, it is sad that once again the nation is not being represented in the sport.
His replacement at Super Aguri? Sakon Yamamoto, who finished 10th overall in last year’s Formula Nippon championship. Considering Ide finished 2nd, that doesn’t look too good…