Dennis leaves door open for Montoya return

Ron Dennis has vowed to block departed racer Juan Pablo Montoya's immediate NASCAR debut, with the team principal insisting that McLaren reserves the right to put the Colombian back in a silver formula one car.

30-year-old Montoya's F1 fans should not celebrate too early, however, as Dennis' comments at Magny Cours almost certainly the beginning of negotiations for a complete 2006 contract buyout by the racer's new team boss, Chip Ganassi.

''If we so chose he will test and race again,'' Dennis insisted. ''He is a contracted McLaren driver.''

Englishman Dennis did, however, pour cold water on speculation that Lewis Hamilton or Gary Paffett could find their way into Montoya's vacant cockpit, adding that it's 'more likely' that tester Pedro de la Rosa 'will continue in the car'.

Dennis also explained his decision to drop Montoya, arguing that his announcement of a NASCAR move flew in the face of a verbal agreement the two men had. He said: “A few races ago we had a conversation which was based on his desire to continue with McLaren, his desire to stay in Formula One.

“We came to a very clear understanding that the best way to achieve that was to have the best results in the latter part of the season.

“I felt if he was focused on having the best end of season then it would be easier for me to take a decision to keep him in the team or he would get a better offer elsewhere.

“The common objective was ‘let’s get the best out of the balance of the season’, but that object was somewhat changed when he decided he would race in NASCAR.

“Then our objectives became different. The appropriate course of action was to let the whole thing cool off, let him think about the circumstances."

Well he thought about and went off and signed a multi-year deal in NASCAR. Your loss Ron. More importantly F1's loss.

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