Juan Pablo Montoya is comfortably my all time favourite driver. His exciting, combative driving won him legions of fans and, being an impressionable young boy, I was a proud member of this group. As a result, it was no surprise to anyone that my first F1 model was of the feisty Colombian. This article will focus on Montoya’s FW24.
The car shown here is what Montoya (and team mate Ralf Schumacher) drove for the 2002 season. Williams scored 92 points, including 1 win, 13 podiums and 7 pole positions, which was enough to score them a distant 2nd in the constructors championship behind the all conquering Ferrari (who scored 221 points, the same as all the other teams combined). Of those points, Montoya scored 50 of them, was responsible for 7 of the team’s podiums and all of the team’s pole positions. The last statistic is a telling reminder of Montoya and Williams’ strength in the early 2000s – raw pace. From 2001-2003, Montoya started from pole 11 times, only beaten by Michael Schumacher’s 23 and comfortably ahead of the younger Schumacher’s 4. Indeed, Montoya’s pole lap at Monza was, at the time, the fastest ever lap by an F1 car, averaging 161.45mph.
Following two promising campaigns in 2000 and 2001, Williams were hopeful that their partnership with BMW would come good and deliver them a fighting chance at the world championship. Given the lack of rule changes, and the fact that BMW had in fact improved on F1’s most powerful engine (it became the first 3.0 litre V10 to hit 19,000 RPM, peaking in Italy at 19,050 RPM), along with two race-winning drivers, these hopes had weight.
Unfortunately for Williams, once Ferrari belatedly introduced the F2002 at the third GP of the year, no one else had a hope. Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello won all bar one of the remaining races, the notoriously overtake-unfriendly Monaco GP, where Schumacher found himself stuck behind Montoya and race winner Coulthard. Montoya’s season thus became a battle for 3rd place, which he fought with team mate Ralf Schumacher and the 2001 runner-up David Coulthard.
Montoya was successful in this battle, beating R. Schumacher and Coulthard by 8 and 9 points respectively, however the 2002 season was not a classic. The most memorable moments being a massive first corner pile up in Australia and the farcical Austrian GP. For Montoya, his momentous pole lap in Monza, numerous podiums and finishing deservedly best of the rest were a step forward from his fast, yet erratic, debut season. His 7 pole positions matched champion Michael Schumacher, and many believed he would go onto become a world champion himself.
The model itself is a Minichamp make, I won’t pretend to know about it, as my knowledge of model F1 cars is built almost entirely upon eBay and one very helpful article (http://f1-nut.com/other-collectibles/beginners-guide-to-f1-diecast-model-cars/). Hope you enjoyed this article summarising the FW24.