Monteiro sheds light on Spyker split
8 May 2007 – In an exclusive interview with GPUpdate.net, Tiago Monteiro reveals just what went wrong with Spyker, why he's not racing in F1 this season and how he is still plotting his way back into the F1 fold. In the meantime the Portuguese driver is keeping himself sharp at the wheel of a Seat car in the WTCC.
Tiago, back at the wheel of a racing car, did you miss it?
Yeah, I've missed racing. I watched the first F1 race while I was working for Portuguese television as a commentator, so I was still involved somehow. It didn't feel too strange not to race. Of course, I wanted to be there, but in the conditions I was going to be there, I didn't want to do another year at Spyker like that.
What went wrong with Spyker and you?
When they offered me the contract in Brazil, the conditions were similar to the year before and of course, every winter you try to get more out of your contract. I know Spyker can't work any miracles, just look at Honda and Toyota. It takes four or five years. 2007 was going to be even worse, Toro Rosso was a step ahead, Super Aguri too and the new Minardi was going to be Spyker and I couldn't afford to do that. I couldn't do that to myself, to my sponsors.
Did you have any other options?
I could have had a seat at Toro Rosso, but it took months for the team to decide. Gerhard Berger did a lot of work for me, but at the end of the day, there was no room for me in Formula 1 for 2007. So then I had to look at all the other offers I received in the winter, the three best ones were the WTCC, American Le Mans series and Champ Car. Now I am 100% concentrated on my job at Seat and my management is 100% concentrated on giving me a good seat for 2008.
Do you think Spyker can make progress this year?
I don't know if Spyker can make quick progress. I don't talk to the team anymore, so it's very difficult to say something from the outside. But I think they have a good package coming in the summer, so it could be possible. I wish them all the best of luck, I've made some good friends there, but I'm glad I said no to staying another year. It's difficult to say no to a Formula 1 team, but if I'm not happy there, why should I go on? Look at where they are now and what they're doing; it's exactly what some people inside the team told me. Formula 1 is a tough business.
Any chance of returning to Formula 1?
If there's a better team than Spyker offering me a ride this year, I will go. I have an option in my contract at Seat that says I can leave if a good offer from a Formula 1 team comes along. It's still open. I think I still deserve another chance in Formula 1. If it works out, great, if it doesn't, I'm happy to stay here in the WTCC.