Montoya ‘could shatter Schumacher’s dream’

DAMON HILL believes his old foe Michael Schumacher could see his dream of a record sixth drivers’ crown shattered by Juan Pablo Montoya.

"I think it wouldn't surprise anyone to know I'm rooting for Montoya," said Britain's 1996 world champion.

"That's not because I'm against Michael but because I think Montoya would deserve it and it would be nice to have a change."

Hill had several track dust-ups with Schumacher in two fierce seasons fighting for the title, including being denied the championship by one point in 1994 after their controversial collision in Adelaide before losing out again the following year.

But Hill believes Montoya can play on Schumacher's sometime fallibility in pressure situations as their battle for the world championship reaches its finale.

Ferrari's Schumacher leads his Williams-BMW rival by just three points with races in the United States and Japan left, while McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen is just seven adrift.

"Michael is clearly wary of Montoya. He knows he's a tough fighter. And that's where Michael can show his Achilles heel, when he's under pressure.

"If he feels as though he's becoming the prey, then he gets ragged."

In the meantime, Jacques Villeneuve was left stunned and angry after being told he could face the humiliating prospect of taking part in a Fame Academy-style contest if he wants to keep his Formula One seat.

The 1997 World Champion could have to race off against several rivals for the drive at BAR in 2004 although, incredibly, attitude and presentation will also be judged in a high-speed pageant that would be ridiculed as a gimmick by much of the paddock if it goes ahead.

The Canadian had admitted after last weekend's Italian Grand Prix that he has not yet received any offers of a drive for next season.

The 32-year-old, whose lack of corporate speak and desire not to engage in team promotional activities has made him some enemies, will surely turn down any invite to the show especially given his pedigree of 11 grand prix wins and an IndyCar title.

And Villeneuve has also reacted to BAR boss David Richards' charge that he must change his attitude if he wants to partner Britain's Jenson Button next year.

"I have never worked so hard in my life. If my attitude is a problem then there is no attitude change that could convince David," added Villeneuve, whose fifth and possibly final season with BAR will earn him a reputed £13million.

Villeneuve equalled his season's best finish in Monza last Sunday with sixth place. Though that still left him six points behind Button's haul of 12.

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