|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Midland confirm Monteiro alongside Albers
Alan Baldwin | February 03, 2006 20:55 IST
Portugal's Tiago Monteiro will drive for Midland this season alongside Dutchman Christijan Albers, the new Russian-licensed Formula One team confirmed on Friday.
Germans Markus Winkelhock and Adrian Sutil, Switzerland's Giorgio Mondini and Russian Roman Rusinov will all be test drivers.
Monteiro drove for Jordan, the team Midland has replaced, last season while Albers was at Minardi, now bought by Red Bull and renamed Scuderia Toro Rosso.
"Both Tiago and Christijan had outstanding rookie years in 2005 and we believe this tandem forms a strong, competitive partnership that will benefit us in our first season as MF1 Racing," said team principal Colin Kolles in a statement before the launch of the new Midland M16 car.
Monteiro finished third for Jordan in the six-car U.S. Grand Prix last year after all seven Michelin teams pulled out for tyre safety reasons.
Midland said 25-year-old Mondini, who tested with champions Renault at the end of last year, would take part in nine of the 19 Friday practice sessions at Grands Prix this season.
Sutil, 22, was named as Midland's official junior driver and will also participate in some Friday sessions along with Winkelhock.
Shakedown testing of the new Toyota-powered car is due to start on Saturday at Silverstone, followed by a four-day test at Jerez in southern Spain from Feb 7.
"With the M16, we have made a significant leap forward in every respect," Russian-born Canadian team owner Alex Shnaider said in a statement.
"Everyone has worked extremely hard to make this car a reality and I am confident that if we maintain this level of commitment, we will continue to make further and more frequent leaps forward in the years to come."
Shnaider bought ailing Silverstone-based Jordan a year ago after announcing in 2004 that Midland would enter the sport in 2006. The team is the first to compete with a Russian licence in the 56-year history of Formula One.
"It has been an exciting, sometimes bumpy ride since we accelerated our plans and became involved in F1 a year earlier than expected," said Kolles.
"But through all the ups and downs, we maintained a clear vision of where we want to be and, step by step, we are getting there," he added.
"The M16 car is a 100 percent product of MF1 Racing -- solid proof of our serious intentions.
"But even though we have invested a great deal into building a brand-new car, we remain realistic about the challenge we face as a private team against the world's top motor manufacturers."
Jordan finished last season ninth of the 10 teams.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage