Having only just taken over the former BCN Competicion team and rebranded it Ocean Racing Technology, Tiago Monteiro admitted that he would love to be able to field at least one Portuguese driver in the 2009 GP2 Series - and it appears that he has got his wish with confirmation that Álvaro Parente will complete the summer line-up.
Parente joins Karun Chandhok for ORT's first full season in the main GP2 Series, having served his apprenticeship in the F1 feeder series with Super Nova in 2008 and, after missing the opening rounds, Meritus in the current Asia Series. Like his new team-mate, the Portuguese is a racewinner in the category, giving Monteiro a strong line-up.
“I'm very pleased to be with Ocean Racing Technology, because I believe in the team's potential,'' Parente said, having been presented with ORT's technical and financial package, ''I was welcomed by everybody, and I feel confident that this team will allow me to take another step in my career.
''Besides, this is a project with a Portuguese flavour, which is something that makes it special.''
Having tasted the champagne in GP2 - on his debut weekend no less - the 24-year old has loftier ambitions in mind for 2009, despite knowing that ORT's predecessor carried the unwanted mantle of having been the only team in series history never to reach the top step. Under Monteiro and Jose Guedes' stewardship, however, the outfit is a different proposition, giving Parente the confidence to focus on a title challenge.
“My goal is to fight for the top places in every race,'' the former British F3 and World Series by Renault champion insisted, ''After what was, in my opinion, a positive debut season, I feel more prepared - and I'm certain that Ocean Racing Technology will give me all the right conditions to achieve my aims.”
Having also dropped Filipe Albuquerque's name into the mix when interviewed by Crash.net
at the birth of ORT, Monteiro is delighted to have managed to fill at least one of his seats with Portuguese talent.
“Alvaro is a very fast driver, very concentrated and adapts quickly to new situations – a new car, a new set-up or a new team,'' he noted, ''We are happy to have him aboard and believe that, with our driver line-up and the work that we are developing, we will achieve a good competitive pace.
“We studied different proposals, but we didn't forget that Ocean is a Portuguese team and that Álvaro deserves to be in one of our cars. He was always an option for us and, now, we can see that we were a priority for him too.”