Atlas F1 News Service

Montoya Can Fight Schumacher, Says Rahal

Tuesday February 20th, 2001

Jaguar boss Bobby Rahal believes Williams newcomer Juan Pablo Montoya has the ability to be able to match world champion Michael Schumacher, and he admits the Colombian is one of the best drivers he's ever seen.

Montoya, 25, will begin his first Formula One season this year after winning the F3000 championship in 1998, the CART series in 1999 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2000.

Rahal, another former CART driver who won the drivers title back in 1986, 87 and 92, believes the Colombian has everything it take to succeed in Formula One.

"I definitely believe that he can compete with Michael Schumacher," said Rahal. "Michael is obviously the dominant guy, but he's pretty much had the best of all worlds.

"Montoya is one of the best I've ever seen. There are a lot of young fast guys who are fast, but mentally he's the tops.

"He's very mature for his age," added Rahal. "He understands how you win a race. He's smart in the way he goes about things. You don't usually see that in someone who is so young.

"To me, Montoya seems like the complete package. I genuinely believe he is the real deal, as we say."

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