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Juan Pablo Montoya

Montoya lauds current F1 paddock: Shocking how much nicer it is

Juan Pablo Montoya was a fixture on the F1 grid in the early 2000s, racing for Williams and McLaren before leaving the sport in 2006. The Colombian believes recent changes have improved the sport, with sprint races getting the thumbs up from the 45-year-old as well.

Montoya 2020
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Although he hasn't raced in Formula 1 in quite some time Juan Pablo Montoya still keeps a close eye on developments in the sport, with the Colombian lauding Liberty Media for improving the atmosphere in the paddock.

The American company have been in charge since 2017 when they completed a $4.6 billion purchase from private equity firm CVC. Since then the series' image has improved, with the new owners keen to bridge the gap between the sport and the younger generation of fans.

Their efforts haven't stopped there however with Montoya, who drove for Williams and McLaren in the early 2000s, noting that atmosphere in the paddock has improved for the better as well.

"I think they're in really good shape," Montoya told Motorsport.com. "Formula 1 has been very interesting since Liberty came in and there have been a lot of changes and honestly, when you go to the paddock it's shocking how much nicer it is nowadays than it used to be.

"It’s just nicer, people are way friendlier. It's a much nicer place to be."

F1 are expected to have sprint races at three events in 2021 with word that financial terms have been agreed upon, and Montoya believes it's the right move given the shortening attention span of audiences.

"You're going to start realizing that the attention span of people gets smaller so you can’t hope people sit down and watch one race on TV for two hours," Montoya added. "People like us that love the sport, we do it.

"The younger generations are going to struggle. I think what F1 is talking about is sprint races and this is the way forward."

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