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I can win title, says Montoya

Seefeld (Austria): Juan Pablo Montoya says he’s confident he can win the F1 championship next season prior to his departure from BMW Williams.

“Whoever wins the title is the one who is talked about. I am here to win and if I get the chance to, I will take it,” the 28-year-old Colombian said on Saturday at a news conference during Williams’ end-of-season event.

Montoya, who announced last month he would leave Williams at the end of next season to join the McLaren team, was third in last year’s F1 championship, behind Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen.

He said the new Williams FW26 has the potential to help him win the title next season. “Our new car will be even quicker, and although it is not ready yet, the technical data is very promising,” he said.

Montoya will switch to McLaren for the 2005 F1 season. McLaren boss Ron Dennis had called the deal an opportunity too good to miss, but the move is likely to spell the end of David Coulthard’s McLaren career.

Montoya is expected to partner Finn Raikkonen. Montoya brushed off speculation that it was a bad decision to announce his departure so early.

“As soon as I signed the deal, I went to Frank Williams and told him, much earlier than to the public. But the team was happy about my openness and they are 100 per cent behind me and vice versa,” he said.

“It’s just like in any other job, you want it, you get it and then you do it for a certain time trying to give your best. However, at some stage, you have reached the point where you want to try out something new.

“I have had a great time at Williams so far and who knows, maybe it will be even greater this season,” he added. BMW motor sport boss Mario

Theissen has given Montoya full backing.

“We will be absolutely open to him until the end of the last race. We are one team and obviously have no secrets, as we want to win together,” he said.

Theissen said the team was not “stressed about finding a replacement for Juan.

“We have one entire season and there are a couple of top drivers out there waiting for a cockpit.”

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