Montoya, who currently races for Team Penske in the IndyCar Series, spent six seasons in F1 from 2001 to 2006, first turning out for Williams and then for McLaren. The Colombian then returned to North America where he began his career, going on to compete in NASCAR and then IndyCar.
The topic of how F1 can be improved has been discussed at length, but despite this Montoya has offered some interesting insight things.
The 39-year-old believes that if drivers were forced to rely on their own abilities to determine how to manage their car, rather than receive help from sensors and their mechanics, the racing would become more interesting.
“If you take away the tyre sensors, the temperature sensors, and just leave the pressures, the racing will get better by 10 percent straight away. I’m certain of that,” he told James Allen on F1.
“The driver is now lazy. There’s no feel. They see [the temperature] is too much they back off the pace. Look at the tyres, back off the pace, look at the brakes, back off the pace. If you take all that away it becomes a feel thing again. If you drive it too hard you’re going to wear the tyres off the car.
“The driver and the team just have too much information. It’s OK to have the information in practice, but that information shouldn’t be there in the race for the drivers. It’s got to be a feel thing. Also it will mean that you will start to see the talented people coming through.”
A lot has been made of the fact that cars are now going slower than they were ten years ago, but Montoya believes that suggestions that this is an indictment on the current state of racing is not accurate, with the loss of pace having occurred some time ago and not when the switch was made last year from 2.4-litre V8 engines to 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines.
“It’s funny, those lap times haven’t been seen for 10 years and yet they only became a factor last year because the cars didn’t make any noise, so everyone said ‘oh the cars are slow’,” he said.
“They could be a little quicker, yes, but the cars are not slow. Do they have a little less grip? Yeah, you can see that. The thing is they just don’t have enough downforce. Also, if you give them a couple more years with this [formula], the horsepower will come up; it’s a natural evolution.
“You have to be careful with wanting the cars to go faster because the faster you go the harder it is to pass and the bigger the hole you’re going to punch. You’ve got to figure out a way to helping out the drivers in the cars. There are two things: you’ve got to figure out how to generate enough downforce without sacrificing following other cars.”