Montoya set for 'slim-line' return

Juan Pablo Montoya is set to return to Formula 1 action in the New Year as slimmed down as his new McLaren as he bids to ensure that he is in the best shape possible to go head-to-head with Kimi Raikkonen in 2005

Montoya set for 'slim-line' return

Reports coming out of Spain, where Montoya spends some of his winter time, suggest that the Colombian has spent the last few weeks working hard on losing weight and improving his fitness levels in a bid to ensure nothing works against him for what could be a tough fight with his new team-mate.

It is suggested that Montoya has already lost 13 pounds since the end of the season - thanks to a low-carb diet and a more punishing training regime. He apparently wants to lose another four pounds before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Although Montoya has been criticised in the past for apparently being overweight - most famously by former Williams technical director Patrick Head - the Colombian himself has always insisted that his fitness levels have never been sub-standard.

"Complaints about my weight have followed me throughout my career, but to tell you the truth, whenever I climb out of my car at the end of each race everybody else seems to be more tired than me," he said this week.

Whether Montoya's decision to get in shape was self-motivated, or came after a word in his ear from new boss Ron Dennis, matters little - the former Williams star is clearly fired up to gun for the world title in 2005.

The apparent compact size of the new McLaren has already caught the headlines this week, with test driver Alexander Wurz understood to be too tall for current versions of the MP4-20 - although the team is working on modifications to help fit him into the car.

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