F1Weekly podcast # 561

F1weekly podcast number 561

Special interview with Tiago Monteiro.

Tiago Vagaroso da Costa Monteiro a Portuguese racing driver. He drove for Jordan, Midland and Spyker MF1 teams—all different iterations of the same team as it was bought by new owners during a two year stint as part of the Formula One paddock. In the first year of his Formula One career he set a new record for the most finishes by a driver in their first season , and also achieved a podium finish (3rd place) at the controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix. He currently shares the record for the most finishes in a season with Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa, while he also shares the record for most finishes in a row for a rookie with Heikki Kovalainen, who had also achieved this landmark in 2007.

Monteiro raced with the semi-privateer SR Sport team in the 2010 WTCC season driving a SEAT León TDI, following the withdrawal of SEAT Sport at the end of the previous season. For 2011, he again drove for SUNRED Engineering, where he was partnered by rookies Aleksei Dudukalo and Pepe Oriola, as well as 2010 teammates Michel Nykjaer, Fredy Barth and Gabriele Tarquini. He remains with the team for 2012 under the “Tuenti Racing Team” banner.

In the United States Grand Prix he achieved his first podium finish in controversial circumstances when all but three teams pulled out due to concerns over tyre safety (the Michelin-equipped teams pulled out of the race, not taking their place on the grid. The Bridgestone teams were the only ones to run). Monteiro finished third out of just six drivers.

At the podium ceremony, at which none of the scheduled dignitaries were present, Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello quietly accepted their awards, and quickly exited. However, Monteiro stayed behind to celebrate his first podium finish alone amid the booing fans, a decision which although initially controversial, was later met with some sympathy from the Formula One fraternity.

As of the 2005 United States Grand Prix, Monteiro is currently the most successful Portuguese driver in Formula One history. Pedro Lamy had previously held this record before with one point and sixth place achieved at the 1995 Australian Grand Prix with Minardi. Also of note, as of the Belgian Grand Prix (where he also scored another point), Monteiro had finished every race of the 2005 season, and holds the record for consecutive finishes for a rookie driver in Formula One, taking this from Jackie Stewart (1965 season) and Olivier Panis (1994 season), who finished their first six races. At the Brazilian Grand Prix however, driveshaft failure brought his run to end. Despite this however, by finishing the last two races of the season in Japan and China, he still managed to break the record for the most finishes in a single season. Michael Schumacher finished all 17 races of the 2002 season, whilst both Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello finished 17 out of 18 races in 2004. An 11th-place finish at the Chinese Grand Prix meant that Monteiro had finished 18 out of the 19 races.

Shortly before the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix, Monteiro suffered toothache that was severe enough to prevent him taking part in the race. However, his team principal Colin Kolles, a qualified dentist, performed emergency root canal surgery, and Monteiro was fit enough to race, which saw him finish 15th following a collision with Juan Pablo Montoya, which resulted in the Colombian running wide on the penultimate lap and losing second place to Fernando Alonso, thus preventing Montoya’s McLaren team scoring its first 1–2 finish since the 2000 Austrian Grand Prix.