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Tiago Monteiro is a Portuguese former Formula One and current World Touring Car Cup driver. He had a brief but memorable Formula One career, racing for Jordan, Midland, and Spyker between 2005-2006. Monteiro achieved his sole Formula One podium finish at the infamous 2005 United States Grand Prix.

Tiago Monteiro early years

Tiago Monteiro began karting at age 10 and achieved strong results in various Portuguese and European karting championships. In 1997, he transitioned to single-seaters, racing in the French Porsche Carrera Cup. He took 5 wins and 5 pole positions to become the B-Class champion and rookie of the year.

From 1998-2001, Monteiro competed in the French Formula 3 Championship, notching 1 win in 1999 and 4 wins in 2001, with several additional podium finishes. He also made starts in international events like the Korea Super Prix, Macau Grand Prix, and Le Mans 24 Hours during this period.

f1 opportunity with Jordan

In 2005, Tiago Monteiro got his Formula One break with the Jordan team, newly acquired by the Midland Group. He was paired with Narain Karthikeyan, another rookie. The Jordan EJ15 chassis powered by a Toyota V10 engine was uncompetitive, and Tiago Monteiro struggled in qualifying. He started near the back of the grid in most races.

However, Jordan’s reliability allowed Tiago Monteiro to reach the finish in every race he started. At the controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix, a tyre fiasco caused 14 cars to withdraw after the formation lap. Only the 6 Bridgestone-shod cars took the start, including Monteiro’s Jordan. He ran a steady race to come home 3rd, achieving Jordan’s final F1 podium, despite finishing a lap down behind the leading Ferraris

2005 United States Grand Prix Podium

Heading into the 2005 United States Grand Prix, the Michelin teams suffered multiple tyre failures during practice. Michelin could not guarantee tyre safety through the high-speed Turn 13 and advised its teams to withdraw. The governing FIA rejected any compromises proposed by Michelin regarding track or speed limits.

When only the 3 Bridgestone teams – Ferrari, Jordan, and Minardi – took the start, Tiago Monteiro found himself on the second row behind the two Ferraris. He ran his own pace to stay clear of incidents, finishing over a lap behind winner Michael Schumacher but securing a surprise podium, his first points in Formula One.

Switch to Midland for 2006

Monteiro moved to the rebranded MF1 Racing team for 2006, driving the Toyota-powered Midland M16 chassis. Saddled with an uncompetitive car again, he struggled to match the pace even of the midfield runners. His best result was 9th at Hungary when the wet conditions minimized the deficits.

Despite showing strong work ethic, Monteiro was displaced at Midland for 2007 by rookie Adrian Sutil. Having proven that he could deliver results when provided with a solid car, Monteiro departed Formula One to rebuild his career elsewhere.

World Touring Car Championship Success with SEAT and Honda

In 2007, Monteiro switched to touring cars, joining SEAT’s factory World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) effort. He scored several podiums in his first season behind the wheel of the SEAT Leon TDI.

Over the next 5 seasons with SEAT, Tiago Monteiro established himself as a front-running touring car driver. He took 4 WTCC race wins driving SEAT machinery from 2008-2012. The highlight was a hugely successful 2010 campaign where he won 2 races and finished 5th overall in the championship.

For the 2012 WTCC finale, Monteiro joined the Honda Racing Team JAS squad. He helped develop the new Honda Civic to competitiveness over the next few seasons, scoring 12 WTCC race wins between 2013-2017. Monteiro fought for the championship in 2017 until injuries from a huge testing shunt forced him to withdraw.

Return from Injury and Recent Seasons

Tiago Monteiro missed majority of 2018 while continuing his recovery. He finally returned for the last two races, receiving a warm reception from his WTCC peers. Driving for KCMG in 2019, he starred with an emotional home win in Portugal – his first since the accident.

In the rebranded WTCR series, Monteiro has remained a frontrunner with consistent points finishes. Though now in his 40s, he continues to represent Honda and fly the Portuguese flag among the elite of touring car racing.

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