LONG BEACH, Calif. – Juan Pablo Montoya isn’t a comedian by trade, but he played one pretty well during the post-race press conference at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Montoya kicked off a conversation about chemistry at Team Penske by noting the nationalities of all four drivers in the team, and it basically went forward from there.
Here’s the transcript of that portion:
For both of you guys, obviously you were very strong here the first three races, the whole team. We haven’t had any speedway races yet so we can’t make any judgments, but could both of you talk about the strength you have of the team and your hopes for the championship and the Indy 500? At this point you guys are the favorites, but could you talk about how the chemistry is working, what the strength is and what your hopes are for the 500 and the season?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: We have no chemistry here. It’s terrible. (Laughter.) Listen, a French, a Colombian, a Brazilian, and where is the other one from, Australia?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I think that’s why we have the chemistry because we don’t understand each other.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: One of the amazing things about having the four of us being so competitive is you do a great lap in practice, you finish practicing, you look at the data and they’re still kicking your butt somewhere. They are. There’s always corners where they’re better than you so you always find ways to better yourself, and I think that’s more than the cars running better or whatever it is, I think the group of the four drivers is making a big difference.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, it’s like I said yesterday, the level that we have in our team, it’s not only as competitors but as people, as well, it’s just awesome. It’s great to have that kind of data because when you go back, and he just said it, we go look and it’s like, man, how does he do this. You try and work together. With that, the biggest benefit is the team, and when you have the team winning, you have Roger happy, and that’s when we all feel like we want to win for the team.
I want to follow up a little bit more. You are four very different people, different race car drivers. How does that dynamic work in making it easier to get along with each other because you’re both South American but you’re not even close to being similar.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: No, I mean, he dances. I can’t dance.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Thank God. I actually want to see you dance, man.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: No. Put it this way, I haven’t seen myself dance.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: That’s right.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: To tell you the truth, we’re all mature enough, we’ve done this long enough that I think it makes it easier. Because when you’re young, you’re really gritty and you don’t want to help anybody. And something at Team Penske, the No. 1 thing is the team and the benefit of the team, and we understand that and we all help each other.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, it was for me or for him? I agree with Juan Pablo. We’ve been here for long enough in this business, and yes, we want to win, we’re still young inside that we want to win everywhere
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Inside and outside.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yes, but the point is we want to go for it, but at the end of the day, we understand that some days are not our days, and we have maturity enough to understand, and being on this team for such a long time, it’s about team, and you know that even sometimes you don’t win, you contribute with a good performance, and you feel proud of it.