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Canada - according to Juan Pablo

NEWS STORY
17/06/2005

As speculation over last week's events at Montreal continue, Juan Pablo Montoya used the Thursday press conference at Indianapolis to give his version of events.

"The safety car came out… my side of the thing was that we were discussing what pace to do, because we had around a 30-odd second lead and they said 'we're backing off both cars', to look after the cars because the Renaults were out.

"At the same time that they were talking the safety car came out and when they noticed it it was too late (to come into the pits)," he continued. "Then they decided to pit me on the next lap and they said normal thing, came out of the pits, I saw the red light and as I approached it the blue light came on and I radioed through and said 'do I stop or not?' and I don't think they heard me.

"At one point, when the blue light came on, I thought maybe the red was a mistake because it shouldn't have come on, and I decided to go through it," he admitted. "It was my mistake, in a way, but I thought they would give me a drive-through penalty or something, I thought initially they might just ask me to go to the back of the line or something, but then after that, for some reason, they decided to get me out of the race. I think it was very harsh to be honest, and unfair. But that's what it is."

Asked if he has the option of overriding a team decision, the Colombian replied: "It's not about overriding, you've got to be a part of the team.

"When the safety car came out, the team is on the radio going 'safety car'. They had about two or three hundred meters to call me in. The problem is, both of my guys that run the race, they were talking to each other at that exact moment when it went to safety car. They were trying to decide what pace, how quick we should go because we had enough pace to win the race where we were. And even if the safety car wouldn't come out, we were beating completely over a second a lap and they were trying to have both cars doing the same thing. So they were discussing that at that point when the safety car came out.

"When they radioed them, they were on the radio, so they couldn't hear it. It's not lack of anything, they made a mistake like I had made a mistake before. We've got to get the things together. It's unlucky but that's what it is.

"I think a lot of people thought - I heard this comment that they were trying to favour Kimi to win the race. It sounds pretty stupid when I would have been only nine points behind Kimi. One of the goals is to win the Constructors Championship. Myself scoring zero points and Kimi ten doesn't help, does it?"

Asked if he could take matters into his own hands and simply 'arrive' at the pits without warning, Montoya said: "I don't think so, if the team is not prepared for you…I think you've got to work with the team. You cannot, the same way, you know, they, they were going to call me in and they were late, what happens if I would have done the other thing? What happens if I go into the pits and they say what are you doing here? You know, you've got to be a part of the team and if you don't trust the team, you know, you shouldn't be racing for them or shouldn't even be doing it, to be honest you shouldn't be racing. People forget this is a team sport, not only a driver sport. We're the ones people see on TV but there are over a hundred people working here for us to make sure we get the good results, and back in the factory over 500 people doing the same thing. So if you're not that part of the team, then you shouldn't be involved in it."

And on the thorny subject of 'team orders', what if Ron (Dennis) came on the radio telling Juan Pablo to move over for Kimi?

"I don't think he would do that because we're not allowed to do that, are we?" said the Colombian. "I think the rules say that there are no team orders. I think if that would happen, it would be my decision, not Ron's decision to help the team. You know, I think I'm pretty clear on what we have to do. I'm clear. I still believe I have a chance for the championship. But being realistic, having a chance for the championship, you've got to be realistic to know when it stops.

"Honestly, I'm pretty straightforward," he continued. "If this year I need to help Kimi, it doesn't mean the end of the year because I had my injury, the bad luck I've been having, it doesn't mean I'm going to be out of the championship next year. So I think you've got to be a team player in every aspect. If this year means helping Kimi, then that's what it's going to be. But it wouldn't come as a team order."

Reminded of a similar incident at Magny Cours in 2003, when he was driving for WilliamsF1 - the incident that prompted him to seek a new team - Juan Pablo took the opportunity to have another dig at his former employers.

"No, it's different. Don't compare it," he said. "There's no point of comparison. There is really no point for comparison because, you know, what happened in Magny-Cours, there's no similarity with this. There's not a thing that they plan to finish one/two or anything like that. I think from my point of view it's a completely different thing. And, you know, Ron, I believe if, for example, Frank or Patrick thought they made a mistake, I think they wouldn't have done what Ron did. He came to me through the race, when I got out of the race and he actually came to my hotel room that night to apologize for what happened. I don't think I would have seen that at Williams. So I'm pretty confident the team is a hundred percent behind me."

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