Montoya: “European Drivers are Mentally Weak”

Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Contributor

Juan Pablo Montoya has made the audacious claim that the majority of European Drivers he has faced in Formula 1 have been mentally weak, but later goes on to say that German Sebastian Vettel and Spaniard Fernando Alonso are the most complete F1 drivers. Hmm…

In an interview with F1’s official Youtube channel, Montoya said,

“I learned a lot from Ralf [Schumacher], he was really quick, but European drivers are very ‘weak’ mentally. You can get in their head really easy, I think that plays in what you’re seeing today and what you always see in F1.

When things go your way, you’re really strong, I mean when Lewis [Hamilton] is winning, he’s unstoppable, but when something goes wrong, the spiral down is huge. If the cars were closer together, I think you would see different people winning.”

– Juan Pablo Montoya

16 Sep 2001:  Juan Pablo Montoya of Columbia and BMW Williams ahead of Michael Schumacher of Germany and Ferrari during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Italy. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Clive Mason/ALLSPORT
16 Sep 2001: Juan Pablo Montoya of Columbia and BMW Williams ahead of Michael Schumacher of Germany and Ferrari during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Italy. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Clive Mason/ALLSPORT

At Williams in 2002 and 2003, Montoya beat teammate Ralf Schumacher on both occasions, but finished each season third overall, his best finishes in the Driver standings. Michael Schumacher won the title on both occasions in which Montoya was at his best and if one were to be as generalised as Montoya, one could say that South-American drivers are physically slower than European drivers. But to be as generalised would be stupid.

When asked about who he thinks are the best drivers on the current grid, Montoya contradicted himself immediately.

“I would say, probably Vettel, he is one of the most complete guys and I think Fernando, I ran with Fernando in my career. I think those are the two are overall the best drivers, I think Lewis does a really good job, but they’re in the best cars.

It’s very easy to think a guy in the best car is the best driver, but the question is, if they’re not in the best car, how would they handle things, I think Fernando and Sebastian have endured that and I think they’re the best.”

– Juan Pablo Montoya

HEIDELBERG, GERMANY - JULY 23:  Juan Pablo Montoya of Columbia and McLaren Mercedes gives interviews after crashing during the qualifying  for the German F1 Grand Prix on July 23, 2005 in Hockenheim near Heidelberg, Germany.  (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)
HEIDELBERG, GERMANY – JULY 23: Juan Pablo Montoya of Columbia and McLaren Mercedes gives interviews after crashing during the qualifying for the German F1 Grand Prix on July 23, 2005 in Hockenheim near Heidelberg, Germany. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Maybe the drivers who spend less time trying to “get inside” an opponents head and instead, focus fully on their own game, are the ones that get the most out of their machinery. To be obsessed with playing psychological warfare only really admits that there is a deficit in terms of pace and physical ability. Montoya was a great and exciting driver in Formula One, but statements like these are just salty.