Focus - Montoya giving nothing away 01 Aug 2003
Juan Pablo Montoya arrived in the Hockenheim paddock this morning looking relaxed enough. He was smiling his famous white smile and wearing shorts, training shoes and a t-shirt. Wife Connie was on his arm.
But there was nothing relaxed about his reception from the assembled media: this was the moment they had been waiting for. A TV crew approached immediately.
"Mr Montoya, will you be moving to McLaren in the future?" was the question.
"I have no comment to make," said Montoya, "other than to say that I have a contract with Williams for 2004."
On the eve of the German Grand Prix, Montoya has been the paddock talking point, and not any of the four German drivers on the grid. In the last few days the media has linked him to a move from Williams to McLaren at the end of the year, where he would become team mate to Kimi Raikkonen.
But Montoya hasn't been drawn on the subject - and hasn't hung around to be caught in the media spotlight. After quickly disposing of the aforementioned TV crew this morning, he disappeared into a team sponsor's motorhome. He breakfasted there and didn't reappear in the open until just minutes prior to the start of the first practice session, at 11am.
As is normal in Formula One racing, all parties concerned have denied the story, but that doesn't stop people talking. Should McLaren boss Ron Dennis have made Montoya an offer for either '04 or '05, it would present the Colombian with a dilemma. He is a loyal man and it would not be lost on him that Frank Williams gave him his Formula One break. Were Montoya to leave, he would be reluctant to end the relationship on bad terms.
Countering his sentimentality, however, would be Montoya's manager, Julian Jakobi. He has many ties with McLaren, having looked after the business affairs of both Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in the past, so he knows the Woking team's strengths. If Jakobi were to think a move to McLaren best for Montoya's career, he would no doubt present a very convincing argument to his charge.
And then consider this: Ayrton Senna is Montoya's idol, and always has been. If McLaren was good enough for Senna for six years, then it would most probably be good enough for Montoya too.
Whatever the truth of the matter, the speculation alone will provide food for thought for Montoya, who will spend the three-week break after this race in Miami, where he has an apartment overlooking South Beach. The choice between two of Formula One racing's most successful teams? It would be a nice problem for any driver to have.