Juan Pablo Montoya, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2016

Alonso studying Montoya, “one of the best drivers”, before Indy debut

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Fernando Alonso says he is studying the approach of ex-F1 driver and two-times Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya to prepare for his debut in the race.

Asked if he was looking forward to competing with Montoya again Alonso joked “I don’t know if he will be in the front!”

Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie in 2000, then returned 14 years later and won it a second time the following year. Next month’s race is one of only two IndyCar races Montoya is scheduled to start this year.

Zak Brown, Fernando Alonso, IndyCar, Barber Motorsports Park, 2017
Alonso is watching today’s IndyCar race
Alonso said it was “great” to be taking on Montoya again. “To race against the best drivers in the world, that’s the main thing.”

“Here not only Juan Pablo, I race Oriol Servia as well that I know quite well. There a few drivers, 20-25% of the drivers I know from F1 past, or the recent past.”

“I take Juan Pablo like one of the best drivers in the world, one of the most talented drivers I ever competed against. So to come here and to drive together in the super-speedway will be a massive thing for me.”

“Hopefully I will learn as quick as I can. I’m watching a lot of his onboard cameras because I think he’s one of the best out there. Really looking forward to talk in Indy with him and have some dinners or something because any tips will be very welcome from him.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, Porsche, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015
Montoya is one win from the ‘Triple Crown’
Montoya has won two of the three races in the ‘Triple Crown’ Alonso is seeking: the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. He has not won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but tested a Porsche LMP1 car in 2015.

Alonso admitted he’d had little feedback from rival Formula One drivers about his IndyCar plans.

“We don’t talk much there,” he told a press conference ahead of today’s IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. “It’s a different world.”

“I don’t know, the only thing I know is probably what you guys read because it’s what I read as well. Some of them are happy for me and happy for this and curious to see how competitive we can be.”

“Some others they are not happy with anything in life so this was another thing for their own problems.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 26 comments on “Alonso studying Montoya, “one of the best drivers”, before Indy debut”

    1. I always thought Montoya was pure raw talent, zero discipline. I only followed CART because of him. That year before his jump to F1 was spectacular.

      “Some others they are not happy with anything in life so this was another thing for their own problems.”
      I wonder, who is he referring to?

      1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        23rd April 2017, 18:26

        Made me wonder as well, could it be Horner?

        1. @canadianjosh Horner is a very good guess!

      2. pastaman (@)
        24th April 2017, 3:03

        All the people commenting that it’s bad for F1

    2. I love the last sentence by him, alonso is f1 personified, yet here he is breaking the mold.

    3. I can dig that! Montoya is one of favorite racers ever in F1 and IndyCar. Good IndyCar role model for Alonso since he knows what JPM can do in a race car.

    4. Hahahaha and Paul Tracy was giving him advice today.

      1. But it was actually Extremely good advice. Paul Tracy Slam aside.

    5. Just don’t use his tennis technique

    6. Does anyone recognize the emblem on the t shirt Alonso was wearing at Barber? I’ve never seen it before. Unlikely it was a random choice as knew he would be photographed throughout the day, particularly at the press conference before the race.

      Interesting that the McLaren logo was on the podium behind him, but he wasn’t wearing any official McLaren wear.

    7. Really old school adventure. Zak and Alo must be having a lot of fun.

    8. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      24th April 2017, 5:28

      Considering Montoya is a “poor-man’s” Triple Crown Winner (24hr Daytona vs. 24hr Le Mans), he’s probably not the worst person’s brain to pick. Montoya certainly is a very adaptable driver, while still being fairly quick in anything he runs.

      1. Are there any other “triple crown” type accolades?

        1. There’s a few which are series related, such as winning Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring in endurance racing.

    9. I wonder if Flavio Briatore has his greasy hands involved with Indycar, so Fred can get a leg up.

    10. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      24th April 2017, 8:47

      Don’t get me wrong, I really hope Alonso can go well in the Indy 500. But I have my doubts as it’s such a drastically different style of racing compared to Formula One. He kept going on about achieving the “Triple Crown” as if it were a foregone conclusion that he’ll win it.

      He’s got very limited testing time and a highly competitive field to go up against. I just can’t see it happening tbh. For sure it’ll be a brilliant experience for him, but I just hope he hasn’t gotten ahead of himself in a desperate bid to remain relevant.

      For me personally, I would’ve gone to Le Mans instead, but I totally get the tie-up with Honda and IndyCar.

      1. I disagree that he has come off like it is a foregone conclusion. And he is certainly not desperate to remain relevant.

      2. He’s got one of the paddocks best engineers overseeing his car, & Michael is calling the race! He’s got the best of everything working for him.

    11. Hope he doesn’t study his eating habits as well

      1. How original of you.

        1. What, did I beat you to it?

      2. The fat guy won several f1 races including Monaco, champcar races and championship, indy twice, several 24h sportscar races, a few Nascar races and of course many junior series races and championship. Who doesn’t remember him lapping the entire field in a rainy Pau GP? He even won a touring car race driving a Lada Samara. How many of skinny champions can say the same? Montoya simply is one of the very best allround race car drivers of all time.

        1. @Leo B – well said.

    12. Does anyone know how much oval experience Montoya had in his rookie year? I had no idea he won Indy his first time out!

      1. @ibrahim He had plenty.

        Montoya won the Indy 500 during the CART-IRL split when IndyCar racing was divided into two warring factions. He went to the USA in 1999 and won the CART title first time out (he tied on points with Dario Franchitti but won on countback of race wins). Although he didn’t do the Indy 500 that year (as it was part of the IRL schedule) he did race on superspeedways such as Michigan and Fontana. And the standard of competition in CART was considerably higher than the IRL at the time.

        The following year his Ganassi team switched to a Japanese engine manufacturer (Toyota) and were much less competitive in CART, but they did the Indy 500 as a one-off and Montoya won on his debut. Nice little parallel there if Alonso wins it…

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