Montoya was Blameless, Says Dennis

McLaren cleared Juan Pablo Montoya of blame on Sunday after a collision that cost them the Formula One constructors' championship lead and a first one-two finish in five years

Montoya was Blameless, Says Dennis

"It was an absolutely blameless situation for Juan Pablo, he was really the blameless victim of other people's mistakes," team boss Ron Dennis said at Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

"Juan Pablo was just cruising and it's massively frustrating."

Colombian Montoya and Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia collided on the 40th of 44 laps while Montoya was following Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen home.

Both McLaren and race winner Raikkonen paid a heavy price for the incident. With the eight points, the team would have taken the lead in the Constructors' Championship instead of lagging Renault by six.

Raikkonen would have cut Spaniard Fernando Alonso's Championship lead to 23 points with three races left, but instead now heads to Brazil 25 points behind with the Renault driver closer than ever to the title.

Dennis clearly blamed Pizzonia but he, Montoya and the Brazilian gave conflicting accounts of what had happened.

"Pizzonia exited the pits ... having seen that Pizzonia waved him past, he overtook carefully, pulled in front and at the next corner Pizzonia just drove straight in the back of him," said Dennis.

Braking Early

Montoya denied that, saying the Williams driver - standing-in for Germany's Nick Heidfeld - hit a puddle and crashed into him.

Pizzonia said he had switched to dry tyres and come out of the pits behind Montoya, observing after a few corners that he was much faster than the Colombian.

"He was braking quite early into every corner and then he braked very, very early," he said. "I thought he saw me and was trying to let me by. So I put the car next to him and he did his normal line so obviously he didn't see me.

"Of course I didn't want to destroy anyone's race but unfortunately he destroyed mine too."

Pizzonia was fined $8,000 by the race stewards after the race.

Dennis also questioned why Williams had brought Pizzonia in at such a late stage, saying the change of tyres could not have made up for time lost in pitting.

"I cannot see the logic, when there is so much data coming from the pitwall, that anyone would look to change and lose 20 plus seconds which would have been impossible to recuparate irrespective of the conditions of the circuit," he said.

"I think it was not a great decision by Williams so we are doubly frustrated," added Dennis. "We had a comfortable, well-judged, disciplined, team-oriented race which should have been a comfortable one-two."

Williams technical director Sam Michael rejected the accusation, saying Pizzonia could have gained.

It was the second time in three races that Mercedes-powered McLaren, who have now won four races in a row, have seen a one-two slip through their fingers after Montoya lost second place in the closing stages.

He was second in Turkey until, with a broken diffuser, he spun and allowed Alonso to take second place.

shares
comments
Fry Defends Sato over Schumacher Crash
Previous article

Fry Defends Sato over Schumacher Crash

Next article

Q & A with Red Bull's Dany Bahar

Q & A with Red Bull's Dany Bahar
The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season Plus

The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season

It’s 13 down, nine to go as the Formula 1 teams pause for breath in the summer break. But what can we expect to happen over the next three months from Belgium to Abu Dhabi? Here's the key storylines to keep an eye out for the rest of the 2022 season

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

Formula 1
Aug 17, 2022
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022