Juan Pablo Montoya has revealed why he believes that Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko remains angry with him "to this day". Montoya raced for Marko's Formula 3000 team, RSM Marko, back in 1997, a year in which he battled for the championship against another future Formula 1 driver, Ricardo Zonta. Reflecting back now on working with Marko, Montoya says that it was challenging at times but feels that it ultimately benefitted him as a driver. "At the time itself it was tough, but in the end he made me a better driver," Montoya told Motorsport.com . "He was always shouting that I had a lot of problems and that I was crazy and everything. But he did it with the right intentions. He was pushing me all the time to become a better person."
Montoya recalls Marko anecdote
Montoya – who went on to claim seven wins during his F1 career between 2001 and 2006 – can recall a particularly memorable incident that occurred whilst working with Marko. "I remember one time he invited me to his house for lunch," the Columbian said. "I was served a salad, but I didn't eat vegetables in those days. He then made me run back to his office. It was more than an hour of running. "At the time, I was very miffed at him, but looking back on it, I realise it was his way of moving me forward. "Living in Graz and everything, it was a good experience for me. I hardly had any money at the time, but Helmut took good care of me."
Why Marko remains 'angry' with Montoya
According to Montoya, Marko is still unhappy with him for losing out on the F3000 title in 1997. "He is angry with me to this day. He thinks I deliberately let the championship slip away on the penultimate lap at Mugello," Montoya explained. "We had just misadjusted the top gear. Every time I went to top gear, the engine started stuttering because the gear was made too long. "But Marko still has the idea that I gave away the championship." Despite this, Montoya looks back fondly on his stint working with Marko. "Most teams give their drivers star treatment and totally pamper you. But Helmut wants to make a man out of you and believes that if you want to achieve something, you have to fight for it," he added. Montoya's son, Sebastian Montoya, recently signed to Red Bull's Junior Programme and will race in Formula 3 with Hitech Grand Prix in 2023.