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Monteiro completes Minardi programme 03 Sep 2004

Tiago Monteiro (POR) Minardi Test Driver at the launch of the Minardi PS04B.
Australian Grand Prix Preparations, Rd 1, Albert Park, Australia, 3 March 2004

Minardi’s Portuguese test driver Tiago Monteiro was on track at Vallelunga on Friday to finish the two-day development programme started by Sergey Zlobin. Monteiro totalled 46 laps around the Italian circuit, with a fastest time of 1m 03.750s, just over three seconds quicker than Zlobin’s Thursday best.

Once familiar with the car and its controls, Monteiro launched into a programme that included durability testing of new gearbox components and gathering data for the team to use in the remaining races of the 2004 season. The 28-year-old, from Oporto, was quickly on the pace, improving his lap time with each run.

"I'm very happy with today's test, which I think was extremely positive,” said Monteiro. “I haven't driven a Formula One car for two years and I was just a little bit anxious before we started, but then that first lap was really amazing. It seems like the engine is never going to stop pulling, and the acceleration and the braking are just incredible. You adjust quite quickly to the performance, however, and then you can start to focus on what you're doing.

“I was pleased to work with my engineer today, Graziano Michelacci, as he made it very easy to understand what he wanted me to get from the car during the test. We made a few changes, everything went in a good direction, and the lap times improved all the way through the morning, so I'm very pleased. I want to thank all the people from Minardi who were involved today - the team feels like a family and they made it easy for me to do my job."

Gian Carlo Minardi was equally pleased with Monteiro’s performance: "Tiago did a good job today, and this is a driver with a future ahead of him, for sure. He was very good in all his runs, from the beginning to the end of the test, and improved steadily. He will now have another opportunity to drive for the team, when we test at Misano, in November."

Monteiro’s Misano run is provisionally scheduled for November 24- 26, when Zlobin is also expected to be behind the wheel again for Minardi.