Juan Pablo Montoya says he could have had the opportunity to drive for Ferrari, as he was approached by Ross Brawn.
The Colombian driver is now widely remembered as one of the main thorns in the side of the Ferrari/Michael Schumacher partnership during the early 2000s, but Juan Pablo Montoya says the Scuderia were interested in poaching him away from Williams at the time.
Speaking to Diego Mejia of Colombian broadcaster Antena2, the now 44 year old reflected on that period of time in his career and says he could have driven for Ferrari. He said that he was spoken to on the podium at the 2003 Italian Grand Prix, where he finished P2 to Michael Schumacher, by Ross Brawn – who was the Technical Director for Ferrari at the time.
“Ross Brawn told me he would love for me to drive with them, on a podium in Monza, and I remember saying ‘no thanks!”
He explained that it was the presence of Schumacher that made him say no to driving for the most successful team in Formula 1 at the time, as the German driver had too much political clout at the team and their existing relationship was already too strained after three years of on-track fighting and off-track sniping.
“It was that with Michael it was impossible, I did not want to be second to Michael at all, and I never got along with Michael at all. We did not get along badly, but it was such a strong psychological warfare, that it was to kill everything all the time. Because he wanted everyone (out of the way), that made me angry, so I was even more aggressive.”
Funnily enough, Montoya’s son Sebastian now drives for Prema Powerteam in Formula 4 – meaning he’s stablemates with Michael’s son Mick, who is in Formula 2. Juan Pablo laughed and said the two get along very well, despite the past acrimony between their fathers: “They get along very well. It’s funny because the two of them are on the same team right now. Mick is in the last steps before Formula 1, in Formula 2; and Sebastian is at Formula 4 which is where he is starting. The team is the same, Prema. So they take photos together, and they do many events together. The truth is that they get along very well.”