Feature: Montoya Hoping for History at Indianapolis

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya can make motor racing history in the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis on Sunday and also prevent Ferrari from equalling another Formula One record.

Feature: Montoya Hoping for History at Indianapolis

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya can make motor racing history in the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis on Sunday and also prevent Ferrari from equalling another Formula One record.

The Williams driver could become the first Indy 500 winner to taste Formula One success at the Motor Speedway. Former CART champion Montoya won the Indy 500 in 2000, the year that Indianapolis hosted the Grand Prix for the first time, before moving to Formula One.

Only four drivers have won both events before but they never had the chance to race a Formula One Grand Prix at "The Brickyard".

"Last year I was very close. I was very competitive," said Montoya, who led for five laps in 2001 before being sidelined by an hydraulic failure in a race won by Finland's Mika Hakkinen for McLaren.

"It'll be my second time, but it probably won't be the last time I go there," said Montoya. "I think my expectations are higher than normal. I think I have a pretty good chance. I do want to beat Michael (Schumacher)."

The Colombian has been on pole seven times in 15 races this season but has yet to add to his debut victory at Monza a year ago. A win on Sunday would delight the expected 150,000 strong home crowd, without a driver or team of their own to cheer on, and also shatter Ferrari's hopes of equalling McLaren's 1988 record of 15 wins in a season.

Ferrari have won the last eight races and 13 in total so far this year and are on course to emulate McLaren's achievement with just Indianapolis and Japan, where Schumacher has won for the last two years, remaining.

Happy Anonymity

Schumacher won at Indianapolis in 2000 and loves being in the United States, one of the few countries in the world where he and his wife Corinna can go on holiday without being recognised.

"I am a big fan of America and it is always a pleasure to come here and enjoy a degree of anonymity," he said on his personal website this week.

The German, who wrapped up his record-equalling fifth title more than two months ago, flew to America last week for a secluded riding holiday. He will not report back for work in Indiana, relaxed and refreshed, until Thursday.

"The setting is really impressive, with the packed grandstands and I always enjoy driving here, even if, in my opinion, the track itself is not particularly demanding," said Schumacher.

"The Motor Speedway is a famous part of motor racing history, but the circuit used for the Formula One race does not represent a true challenge in pure driving terms.

"I am not going to make predictions about Sunday's Grand Prix because a lot will depend on tyre performance. We know our car is close to perfection on all types of track and we will definitely be competitive," he said.

Schumacher's Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello should be able to clinch second place in the Championship, since he is currently 17 points clear of Montoya. That should pave the way for a completely open race at Suzuka, with Ferrari having no further need for controversial team orders having secured both titles and second place in the Drivers' Championship.

Frentzen Returns

Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen makes his Grand Prix return, this time with Sauber as a stand-in for Brazilian Felipe Massa, after leaving absent Arrows last month. Massa was given a starting grid penalty at the last race in Italy and Frentzen, who is due to replace the Brazilian anyway next season, was drafted in to enable the team to escape the sanction.

Briton Jenson Button, already the youngest point scorer in Formula One history, will be reaching a new milestone with Renault as the youngest driver - he is still just 22 - to chalk up 50 Grand Prix starts.

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