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Interview with Tiago Monteiro 09 Feb 2005

Tiago Monteiro (POR) Jordan. Jordan Toyota Shakedown, Silverstone, England, 7 February 2005. World © McNeil/Sutton

Jordan's Tiago Monteiro will make his Formula One race debut at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. With less than a month to go before he takes to the grid in Melbourne, the Portuguese newcomer spoke about his aspirations for the year ahead.

Q: How does it feel to be one of them now, one of only 20 guys in the world who will be on the grid for the 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship?
Tiago Monteiro:
It's obviously a special moment and a special opportunity. True there are only 20 drivers, and each year there are only two or three seats available so it's even tougher and maybe there's 50 drivers trying to get each seat. Somebody told me there are more astronauts than F1 drivers and everybody in the world sees becoming an astronaut as being unreachable! So I feel very proud and honoured to be part of the group of F1 drivers. And I'm very honoured to represent Portugal.

Q: In your eight years of professional racing you have been rookie of the year three times in different racing categories. What can we expect from you this year and what do you expect from yourself?
It would be amazing to be rookie of the year again! I think that's probably one of my strengths, to adapt myself quickly to situations. This is a different world, with so many things to learn. Time will tell how I react to that but I'm pretty confident because we have a good team that will help me do it.

Q: How do you plan to make your mark on the sport and on the famous Formula One media?
By proving what I can do on track. And off the track as well. You need to be good at both these days. I'm certainly planning on doing that.

Q: You were given a Formula One test by Renault in 2002 and recently by Minardi. Both times you obviously had to hand the car back at the end of the day. Now the Jordan EJ15 is all yours for the 2005 season…
It is a different approach. When you are given a test you have to do your best and do everything you can do in one day. You take a lot of risks in order to make an impression. Joining Jordan is different. I know this is going be my car, my team, and I approach things differently. I want to know everything, I want to understand everything, I want to know people and work and react with them. It's a very different state of mind. It's a much better feeling actually. I'm really excited to start that.

Q: It is said that success is a mind game - is yours ready to play?
Definitely. Most of your success in life comes from your head. That's what I've been training for, all these years, and I think I'll do a good job.

Q: Your team mate is always your biggest rival. You and Narain Karthikeyan are both newcomers. How will that work out?
You've got the same material as your team mate so he's your first contender. Narain and I have known each other for a while. I respect him a lot, as a person and as a driver. I think he's very quick, he's a smart guy so we're going to push each other a lot that's for sure and it's a good thing. We don't have the bad habits of old F1 drivers with loads of experience. We're here to prove ourselves but in a smart and intelligent way. He's going to push me hard and I will push him hard as well.

Q: Melbourne is just around the corner. How will you prepare for the biggest challenge of your racing career so far?
Well, I'm training hard physically. And learning a lot - that's the biggest change, there's so much information. The workload is huge compared to any other series and there are so many things to take care of. So I'm trying to hone my fitness and mental preparation and rely on other people around me to take care of the trivial things so that I can focus on the main things. That's what I hope to achieve in the very short time that we have to prepare for the first race - because there's no question, we have to be ready!