NOVEMBER 8, 2005
Monteiro close to the second Jordan
Tiago Monteiro is going to get the second Jordan seat in F1 next year. The Portuguese driver is rumoured to have around $12m from the Portuguese government via the national petrol company Galp and the Portuguese tourist authority. This is fine as long as the current government, headed by socialist Jose Socrates, remains behind him.
The government was elected in February and immediately agreed to fund Monteiro. However Socrates's desire to restore confidence in the country must also take into account financial realities, not least to keep the national deficit within European limits. The problem is that the Portuguese economy is stagnant and based on traditional industries. Services, particularly tourism, are playing an increasingly important role as the expansion of the European Union has wiped out the advantage that the country previously enjoyed as a supplier of cheap labour in the EU. The government is working to change Portugal's economic development to a model based on private investment and exports and there have been many discussions in recent months of deals in Africa and Latin America.
In the interim, however, Portugal is having to tighten its belt and the government has been trying to soften the blow by selling off stakes in the nation's energy firms, notably Galp. Socrates recently announced cuts in public spending and this has not pleased state employees who are not going to take kindly to seeing government money spent on Grand Prix racing.
Despite this there are reports that the government has agreed to fund Monteiro for another year and that a deal has been signed.
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