Tiago Monteiro gave a press conference in Lisbon, during which the Portuguese F1 driver discussed the first half of his debut season where he became the first Lusitanian diver to secure a podium finish with a third place finish in the USGP just...
Tiago Monteiro gave a press conference in Lisbon, during which the Portuguese F1 driver discussed the first half of his debut season where he became the first Lusitanian diver to secure a podium finish with a third place finish in the USGP just over a week ago. He also spoke about the future and the newest evolution of the Toyota powered Jordan, the EJ15B, which unfortunately will not debut here in France this coming weekend.
First on the agenda was Tiago's result in Indianapolis...
"I felt great pride to be on the podium, a feeling which the Portuguese people also acknowledged. The difference is that, from now on, people will more easily associate a face, a name. The Portuguese population recognizes me, and this is a good thing," he explained before giving his assessment on the first half of the season.
"I have learnt a great deal from things that happened at the beginning of the year, in particular just how hard it was to finish every race. My teammate was faster than I was at the start, but this did not concern me, and it didn't worry the team either. Narain is a very fast driver, and I needed to gain confidence in the car in order to do the same thing with my driving."
"In every other discipline I have raced in I have done the same thing, preferring to learn and analyze the car before putting all my confidence in it. After four or five races, I could do just that and I am now faster than Narain, who once again is an excellent driver."
After a very unusual race in the USA, the Formula One circus has returned to Europe for the French Grand Prix, which will see things return to normal.
"All will return to order and it will be necessary for us to continue to work like a navvy to seize the smallest chance that is offered to us. Unfortunately, Formula One does not visit Portugal, so the French GP is like a home race to me because I lived here for a long time and I have many friends here."
The EJ15B, the first Jordan thought and conceived around the new aerodynamic regulations for 2005, carried out its debut laps in Barcelona last week, however they must be patient as it will not be taking to the starting grid just yet...
"Testing last week in Barcelona with the new EJ15B revealed certain completely normal teething problems. In general it takes three months to sort out a new car and we had only two days at our disposal. I could only manage a few laps, but my teammate managed 20 laps of the track and we already saw some real progress in regard to the stability of the car."
"The EJ15B will be used on Friday, by our 3rd driver, at the French and British Grand Prix, which will enable us to gather more invaluable data in regard to its development. We will then analyze everything after Silverstone, and we should have two more days of development after the British GP and we will be then hoping to introduce the new car, to race, in the German GP."
Many rumours have circulated in regard to the hypothetical presence of a French driver at the wheel of the Jordan in Magny-Cours but Tiago is unconcerned about this, despite the fact that Trevor Carlin has left the team.
"There are always a lot of rumours in F1, and the French have put a lot of pressure on having a driver in the race. But I trust in the team and my contract in regard to my drive. I regret the departure of Trevor, because he is a friend; he was the first to call me after my podium at Indianapolis, but his departure has not really affected the team because he did not have contact with the daily running of it, he was mainly working on the management side of Jordan."
Collin Kolles, director of the team, was also in attendance at the press conference and he made a point of stressing that "people talk about the arrival of a Russian or Canadian driver, it is a possibility yes, but not in the immediate future nor for next year. In Russia, a school for drivers must be created so we can work on the debut of a driver in Formula One, but I do not think we are ready with this possibility."