The mere seconds that Juan Pablo Montoya spent in the 2006 United States Formula One Grand Prix has ended up being probably his last act in the world of Formula One Racing.
Team McLaren Mercedes and Juan Pablo Montoya have mutually agreed for him to step down in the forthcoming races of this year’s Formula 1 World Championship. The team has decided that Pedro de la Rosa will join Kimi Raikkonen in the race driver line-up.
Juan Pablo has been an energetic member of the team since 2005, but will now spend the next few months based in Miami with his family and wife Connie who is expecting their second child in September. Following his agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing for next year, Juan Pablo will also be making initial preparations for his debut in a Chrysler Dodge NASCAR.
Pedro will make his second race appearance for the team following a thrilling points scoring debut in the 2005 Bahrain Grand Prix.
“Juan Pablo is an exciting driver and immensely likeable character who will undoubtedly make a successful transition to the NASCAR scene,” said Ron Dennis, CEO and Chairman of the McLaren Group. “We have agreed that with so many things happening in Juan Pablo’s life right now, he should take some time out of the car and prepare professionally and personally for the future.”
“We believe that Juan Pablo’s decision to move to NASCAR is very important for him professionally and we will give him every support to ensure that it is a successful transition,” said Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.
“I know that it will be a tough transition but I’m really excited about the opportunity to move into the NASCAR championship,” said Juan Pablo Montoya. “I have enjoyed most of my time in Formula 1 and I’m grateful for this opportunity to settle my personal life and concentrate on my future career.”
“I’m of course extremely thrilled to have this opportunity to race the MP4-21 – a car in which I’m really comfortable,” said Pedro de la Rosa. “I know the MP4-21 better than anyone else and I’m confident that I can achieve important World Championship points for the team.”
Team McLaren Mercedes