Within a strong pack, where one can spot drivers who have been battling in this category for several seasons, (13 of them are repeaters), Monteiro plans to make his own mark: "On this 2002 season we have a pack of drivers with a lot of quality.
Within a strong pack, where one can spot drivers who have been battling in this category for several seasons, (13 of them are repeaters), Monteiro plans to make his own mark: "On this 2002 season we have a pack of drivers with a lot of quality. This, on the one hand, compliments my results, but on the other hand can only make scoring a tough job. My oponents are familiar with the circuits, so they lose no time in the qualifying and they are used to quickly deciding on the car's set up during complicated situations"
Nominated in February to be an official driver for the Renault F1 Driver Development Program, Monteiro will be under observation by the superior staff of the French outfit: "Both of the Super Nova cars have the same colours as the Formula One Renault R202, which represents to us drivers, a huge responsibility with the Junior Team Renault. The Super Nova Team will give Renault all the data from my qualifications and races, which will then be commented on by the technicians, who make a complete analysis on my performance throughout the season. They know what my difficulties are during the initial events, but they believed in me and also believed that my integration in David Sears team would help me surpass the initial problems due to lack of experience in the F3000, and provide the learning curve required for the various circuits".
Referring to his new 2002 Lola B2/50, the Portuguese driver remarked: "I must find a more comfortable driving position with the new seat FIA gave us at Silverstone. I think the first thing I'll do when the car arrives at Interlagos is make a new backet. During the last day of tests at Silverstone, we used the FIA seat and I could not find a comfortable position, so I am hoping to change it before the race".
Young Monteiro has Portugal on full alert: "The expectations are high, as is media interest. I have a responsibility to my country, but I ask for some tolerance and a lot of calm. It's very important that everyone understands that this is a tough championship and I am just a rookie. I know I can count on the support of the motor sports fans in Portugal that attend my races. I want to deserve their trust, just as I want to deserve the Sponsors trust, such as Unicer (alcohol-free Cheers beer), Grupo Santogal, Iberotel, Brisa, Hotel Qª da Marinha, that joined the multinationals like Renault Portugal, Elf, and Brose Tecknik fur Automobile".
Tiago Monteiro's F3000 premiere at Interlagos
Opening event will be the Brazilian GP on the 30th of March
In less than a week's time, young Tiago Monteiro will be back in action, running the very first FIA International F3000 Championship race of his career. Monteiro will join the Renault F1 Driver Development Program, driving his Lola B2/50, the Nº 6 of the Super Nova Team. The Portuguese driver is one of seven newly appointed drivers in a Championship that came to replace Formula 2 in 1985, and will have his apprenticeship at the Brazilian Grand Prix, run on Saturday the 30th March, after the Formula One qualifying session.
With a habit of regularly attaining podium positions (achieving podium 17 times during the 2001 season), dynamic Monteiro has been given a new challenge, participating in 12 events of the F3000 Championship - integrated as support programs for the Formula One Grand Prixs.
Despite adapting well to his new Lola, Monteiro did not have the best possible conditions to realize his pre-season tests. This was due to the fact that the Team only received the second car for the Imola tests, and in addition, the Super Nova Team was recruiting the Portuguese's team-mate. Consequently, Monteiro only had 25% of his opponents' testing time at Estoril and Barcelona, while having problems with his gearbox both at Silverstone and Imola, forcing his premature halt. "Therefore, I had little time to test the tyres in a qualifying simulation. I am aware that I haven't yet explored the full potential of the new tyres, but on the other hand, I am totally confident driving the car with used tyres, which will be helpful during the race", explained Monteiro.
Discussing his new apprenticeship and the up and coming season, Monteiro is realistic, but determined in his approach: "The main goal is to be able to score as much as possible. I am aware of how much I still have to learn, and I am sure this season will not be an easy one, especially for someone who has a strong habit of fighting for the leading positions, as myself. It is important to understand the reality, and I don't want to create expectations that are too tough to reach. We'll see how this race turns out", says Tiago Monteiro, referring to his rookie year in the Formula 3000.