In 1997, aged 20, Tiago contested the French Porsche Carrera Cup, winning the championship easily with 5 wins and 5 poles. Formula One team bosses got to see the youngster in action in the Porsche Super Cup race which supported the Grand Prix, the young Portuguese driver finishing sixth.
In 1998, Tiago switched to single-seaters, but finished a disappointing twelfth in the French F3 Championship. That said, two fourth places were enough to earn him the 'Rookie of the Year' award.
In 1999 he stayed in French F3, finishing six overall, with one win and three other podium visits. The youngster also took part in the Le Mans 24-hours, finish 16th overall and 6th in the GT2 class. In addition to all this, Tiago contested the International Renault Finals at Estoril, in his native Portugal, taking pole position, fastest lap and a fine win.
He persisted with the French F2 Championship in 2000, finishing runner-up with four wins. He also finished runner-up in the European F3 Championship, winning at Spa, 2nd in the Korean Super Prix and 9th at Macau. To round off a perfect season he also contested several rounds of the Lamborghini Super Trophy, taking fastest lap at Magny Cours and Laguna Seca.
In 2001, he once again contested the French F3 Championship, and once again finished runner up, despite 6 poles and 4 wins. He also took two wins in the French GT Championship and a further two wins in Formula France.
In 2002, Tiago contested the International F3000 Championship with Super Nova, finishing twelfth overall with five top-10 finishes. His hard work, and results, had not gone unnoticed and following a test with the Renault F1 team, Tiago was taken on board as part of the French outfit's Driver Development Scheme.
For 2003, Tiago switched to Champ Cars, joining Emerson Fittipaldi's team, taking one pole position and five top-ten finishes.
In 2004, the Portuguese youngster contested the Nissan World Series with Carlin Motorsport, in addition to carrying out testing duties with the Minardi F1 team.
In late January 2005, following the buy-out of the Jordan F1 team by Alex Shnaider and his Midland F1 team, rumours that Tiago could be about to make his F1 race debut began circulating. Other than his undisputed talent, the other reason that people were taking the story seriously was due to the youngster's close ties to Trevor Carlin, who had been appointed sporting director at Midland F1.
On 3 February, the Silverstone-based outfit announced that Tiago would contest the 2005 Formula One World Championship season alongside Indian hot-shot Narain Karthikeyan.
Looking back, and ignoring the ludicrous circumstances surrounding the event, one of the most memorable moments of the season was the sheer unbridled joy of Tiago on the podium at Indianapolis.
Yes, fourteen drivers, representing seven teams had withdrawn from the event, and yes, the Portuguese driver had only finished ahead of his teammate and the two Minardis. Nonetheless, he had made it onto the F1 podium and thus entered the F1 record books.
Tiago's performance that day was typical of his season, there were no fireworks, no sensational moves - was such a thing possible in that car - he simply kept his head down and got on with the job of bringing the car home.
Such was the car's reliability, and Tiago's consistency, the Portuguese driver came within sixteen laps of another unique record, being the only driver to complete every round of the longest season in the sport's history.
Although Karthikeyan came to F1 with (arguably) the better reputation, Monteiro more than held his own, indeed most people would concede that the Portuguese driver came out of the 2005 season looking a better prospect, indeed he secured a race seat, whereas the Indian didn't.
Although Karthikeyan was quicker, Monteiro drove with his brain, nursing the car home, and thereby giving his team valuable data without having to go to the further expanse of testing. Furthermore, despite the Indian's apparent speed advantage, honours in qualifying were equally divided.
It seems only right that after all his effort, Tiago won a 'real' (his word) race point in the Belgian Grand Prix, having finished eighth at Spa, the drivers' circuit.
Although it took forever to officially confirm the deal, Tiago will partner Christijan Albers in 2006, as Midland - in its first proper season - has retained his services.
It is unlikely, barring an engineering miracle or another Indy-style 'walkout' that we're going to see the Portuguese drive on the podium again this season, however, if he continues where he left off in 2005 there is every chance that another outfit might give him a run in 2007 - after all, at least fourteen drivers' contracts run out this season.
Over the years, Tiago has not only demonstrated tremendous pace, but also a willingness - much like the good old days - to drive anything, anywhere, the guy simply adores racing. It's good to have him in F1.
Statistics - Prior to 2006 Season
Drivers' Titles: 0
Seasons in F1: 1
Grand Prix: 19
Fastest Laps: 0
Best result in 2005: 3rd (USA)
Best qualifying 2005: 13th (Brazil)
Worst qualifying 2005: 20th (Britain, Hungary and Japan)
Average grid position: 17.21
2005: Out-qualified Karthikeyan 9 times
2005: Completed: 1125 out of 1180 laps (95.34%)
2005: Finished 18 times from 19 starts (95%)