Monteiro Upbeat on 2006 Prospects

Tiago Monteiro believes that his points-scoring finish in the Belgian Grand Prix could not have come at a better time to help him keep hold of his seat in 2006

Monteiro Upbeat on 2006 Prospects

The Portuguese driver scored for the first time since his podium finish in the United States Grand Prix with eighth place at Spa. And, after holding talks with the team over the weekend about a new contract, he is upbeat about his chances for next year.

"It couldn't have been timed better," he told Autosport-Atlas. "This was a great result for the team and for me as well.

"In the morning I had a meeting with (managing director) Colin Kolles to talk about next year and this race has given me extra cards to play.

"I think I have very good chances to race for Midland next year, but nothing is signed yet. In any case, this result will certainly strengthen my position both in the team and in the market."

There are no shortage of candidates pushing for a drive at the team next year, when it will be renamed Midland.

They are testing Anthony Davidson at Silverstone this week with a view to offering him a race seat for next year, while Renault test driver Franck Montagny is also believed to be pushing hard for a drive, having secured some sponsorship backing.

Monteiro's results at Indianapolis and Spa are likely to help him keep hold of Portuguese backing that he has, and his amazing run of 16 finishes so far this season has impressed onlookers.

And although his result at Spa may not have delivered the surprise of his podium finish at the United States Grand Prix, Monteiro believes it felt much more special.

"For me this feels even better, although I didn't go to the podium and that's always special," he added.

"I can understand that for people watching the races from home the podium in Indy means more. But for me, personally, this eighth place has a greater meaning, because it was achieved after a fighting race, battling with people like Villeneuve, Button, Webber and Pizzonia.

"Sometimes I passed them, sometimes they passed me, but I was able to push all the way until the last lap and only slowed down to stay behind Raikkonen just before we finished the race. Apart from that I was flat out the entire race."

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