Juan Pablo Montoya hasn’t driven in the Verizon IndyCar Series since September, but the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner will return to the series this weekend.
At 41 years old, Montoya plans to compete in select IndyCar races for Team Penske this year, including the Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend. After nearly nine months away from an IndyCar, one can’t help but wonder how the Colombian driver will adjust to time back behind the wheel.
If Montoya’s transition from a stint in NASCAR back to open-wheel racing is any indication how time away from open cockpit cars will affect him, Montoya should have no trouble easing back into it.
However, Montoya is also coming off a relatively rough 2016 season. He was replaced by Josef Newgarden, a fresh, new American talent after only finishing ninth in points, his worst result in three full-time IndyCar seasons.
A talented driver, Montoya has never had an issue finding the top step of the podium, but it wouldn’t be a shock if he struggles to find his footing stepping back into the car.
One thing Montoya will have going for him is his talent. A former Formula 1 world champion, Montoya shouldn’t have an issue getting back to the front. Even if he doesn’t win in his first race back, he’ll probably be a factor throughout the month of May.