JULY 31, 2001
Montoya didn't blow it says Head
DESPITE Ralf Schumacher's allusions that Juan Pablo Montoya brought about his own German Grand Prix downfall by racing off into the distance in the opening half of the race, Williams Technical Director, Patrick Head, has defended the Colombian's strategy and said that he put no more strain on the car than race winning Ralf himself.
Montoya led until his single pit stop, when the pit lane gremlins caused the fuel flow indicator not to work, so that the refuelling team was forced to switch nozzles for insurance, costing over 35 seconds and Montoya's 10-second lead. Montoya was sent out with one and a half times the required amount of fuel as a result, but his engine blew up shortly afterwards when the engine overheated after being stationary so long in the pits.
After the race, however, Ralf offered his own opinion on the problem: "Already before the weekend, we knew that we were on the tight side with the engines," he said. "So when, after start of the race, Pablo pulled away I thought 'OK, you do whatever you want to' and I already started to save the engine because I know how long and how hard that race is."
Head has however rubbished the idea, saying: "Nothing Juan Pablo was doing in any way used his engine harder than Ralf. "He was using no more revs. When it goes against you, it goes against you, but he had everyone covered, including his team-mate."
BMW Motorsport boss Gerhard Berger remains guardedly optimistic about Montoya's progress this season. "He's a very aggressive driver, very, very talented, but not always as yet able to use his potential to the optimum," he said.
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