JPM casts doubt on Ferrari pace

McLaren's new signing Juan Pablo Montoya has questioned whether world championship team Ferrari will be able to match the pace of the new generation of F1 cars in the early races of 2005, following the Italian team's decision to begin the season with an evolution of its dominant F2004 chassis

JPM casts doubt on Ferrari pace

With sweeping regulation changes being introduced this year that have cut downforce dramatically and stipulate that tyres must last a race distance while engines must last two grand prix weekends, Montoya suggested at the launch of the new McLaren-Mercedes MP4-20 at Barcelona that in terms of pace, it may be better to start the season with a new car.

"It's hard to say are you in a good position or a worse one," he said. "Ferrari are probably thinking that the best way to do it is what they are doing. We think what we are doing is the best thing. We have to get to the first race and see what happens."

"Probably reliability-wise they (Ferrari) are going to be in much better shape than we are going to be at the first few races because they are going to have a car that they know isn't going to break. The biggest question is pace, where do they stand?"

Montoya has only completed a single installation lap in the new car and will have to wait until Thursday before he gets to run the car in anger. Kimi Raikkonen and the team's test driver Pedro de la Rosa are scheduled in to do the initial legwork at the Spanish Grand Prix venue.

"I think McLaren has done an amazing job with this car and we have to wait and see what really happens from now on," he said. "There's a lot of work been done by Mercedes on the engine part as well. We've done an installation lap and didn't have any issues. It came back in one piece."

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