Monteiro: No reason why ORT can't win
1 January 1901
Tiago Monteiro, team owner for the burgeoning Ocean Racing Technology team, is confident his new project will be capable of challenging for race wins in 2009 ahead of its GP2 Series debut.
Former Midland and Spyker Formula 1 driver Monteiro crossed the other side of the pit wall last month when he was revealed as the new manager for Spanish concern BCN Competicion, a deal that subsequently saw the team re-branded ORT and new personnel drafted in.
A substantial career shift for the 32-year-old, who will continue to race in the World Touring Car Championship in 2009 with SEAT, Monteiro told Crash.net Radio that the decision to become the new owner of ORT was based on a desire to take on a new challenge.
“It is not really new in terms of an idea because in 2006, when I was in F1, an opportunity came up and there was a possibility I could be involved,” he said. “But at the time, it wasn't really something I wanted to do and I didn't have the time.
“Then, a few months ago, another opportunity came up and I thought the timing was more appropriate. My priority is still to drive and I still have a contract with SEAT next year, but I thought I could have a bit more availability this way and it was difficult to say no.”
It is an endeavour that began with the second round of the GP2 Asia Series, where ORT made its race debut just days after acquiring the assets of the BCN team. Despite this, lead driver Yelmer Buurman qualified an excellent sixth, considerably higher than the team had managed for most of the 2008 GP2 season.
Indeed, despite BCN going under as the only team not to have won a race in GP2, Monteiro is confident that, with the right people and the right attitude, ORT will experience race winning success.
“We acquired the assets of an existing team, but the big challenge is that while we have the assets and the licenses, I wanted to build a new team; a dream team with people that I know and trust.
“It is a big challenge being on the other side of the fence, recruiting people, negotiating with personnel and even sort the driver side of things… I have 11 years of experience though and I have learnt a lot, so I will try and use that experience.”
“We want to be successful in GP2 and win races and championships, but I am not underestimating my competitors. There are a lot of talented and experienced people here, so I know we will be in a fight and there will be tough moments.
“However, the way the championship is done, with the restricted testing and development, means that with the right personnel, the right attitude, the right management and the right drivers, there is no reason why we shouldn't be winning races. It isn't about money - as long as you have the necessary budget to run, you can do just as well as any other team.
Looking ahead to the European GP2 season in 2009, Monteiro admits he is keen to use the Asia Series as a chance to trial several drivers before choosing their final driver line-up. Amongst the contenders are Portuguese pairing Alvaro Parente and Filip Albuqerque, drivers that Monteiro admits he would like to see racing for him.
“We have several possibilities in terms of drivers and I want to use Asia as a testing ground for drivers before deciding who is the best choice for our main series campaign.
“It would be a huge pleasure to be able to help a Portuguese driver and I think there are two drivers from Portugal with the talent and experience to do so - Albuquerque and Parente. We are in talks with them, but while I would prefer to have a Portuguese driver, the package still has to be right.”
ORT competed with Buurman and Fabrizio Crestani in Dubai, the former retiring whilst running inside the points and the latter finishing 14th on his GP2 debut.