Exclusive: Montoya May Miss Bahrain

Juan Pablo Montoya may be forced to sit-out next weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix after injuring his shoulder playing tennis in Spain at the weekend, Autosport-Atlas can exclusively reveal

Exclusive: Montoya May Miss Bahrain

The Colombian hurt his left shoulder while playing tennis with trainer Gerry Convey in Spain on Saturday. His McLaren team has confirmed that he suffered a hairline fracture of the shoulder with some tissue damage after slipping over.

Although the team has claimed a final decision about Montoya's participation will be made later this week, sources claim that Montoya has been advised to rest it for up to three weeks to avoid aggravating the injury. It means that he could miss the Bahrain event but should be back in the cockpit for the San Marino Grand Prix, on April 24th.

A team spokeswoman said: "We will make a final decision on Thursday." That means Montoya could still be forced to fly to Bahrain just in case he is fit enough to race.

It is understood that Montoya is undergoing medical tests today and further tests will be held tomorrow.

If Montoya misses the race it is almost certain McLaren reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa will be called into action to race for the team in Bahrain, after running on the Friday of Grand Prix meetings so far this year in the team's third car.

The difficulty for McLaren will then be in finding a replacement third driver, because fellow test driver Alexander Wurz is too tall to fit in the current version of the team's MP4-20 chassis.

The news of Montoya's accident has come after what has been a fairly disappointing start to the season for McLaren. Although their new car has shown itself to be both quick and reliable, niggling problems have managed to keep both Montoya and teammate Kimi Raikkonen off the podium so far this year.

Montoya's absence from Bahrain will ironically bring some good news to the Colombian, however, because it guarantees that he will not miss the birth of his first child, which is due within the next few weeks.

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