Tiago Monteiro is hoping to continue his career with SEAT in the WTCC next year, despite uncertainty over the Spanish manufacturer's future, although he warns that the championship faces a "transitional season" in 2010.
SEAT is still yet to confirm its WTCC plans for next season, however a dramatic downscale from its current five-car works line-up is expected. Rival BMW confirmed last month that it was reducing its factory entries from five cars to two next season.
"Basically, SEAT Sport is not sure what is going to happen," Monteiro said. "Everybody at SEAT Sport wants it to go on and wants to do something – they have 100 people there, they have the cars, the people, the materials - everything is there. All the driver contracts finish at the end of December, so we are all free agents. Everybody wants to go on, but nobody knows what to do.
"Still my main objective is to try and stay in the WTCC, and especially I would love to stay with SEAT. I really believe in the brand, but I also feel at home there. So I would like to stay. And also, in 2011 I think there will be a rebirth [in the WTCC – new rules, you'll have new manufacturers, and we also have a strong belief that SEAT will come back strongly. So 2010 is basically a transition year, and everybody just needs to survive.
"For sure there will be less manufacturer cars, but there will be more privateers. It will change the shape of the championship a little bit, for sure, and I'm curious to see what will happen."
In the meantime, Monteiro said that he was looking at alternative options for 2010.
"There are plenty of opportunities out there," he said. "Nothing is confirmed; everybody struggled to finalise their deals. For professional drivers, 2010 - if you want to get paid to drive – is going to be a tough year. But maybe in the Le Mans Series, or the new GT World Championship, there are some opportunities.
"I've also had some contact over the last two years with Superleague Formula and they have been putting a lot of pressure on me to move back to single-seaters, so that could be another option. I just need to be more confident that the championship will evolve. I'm pretty impressed with what they've done so far, to be honest."
The Portuguese driver is also considering offers from Japan after testing with the NISMO Super GT squad at Fuji earlier this month.
"They knew that I was interested in the GT1 championship, and they are preparing a new GT1 car," he said. "They called me up to do this GT500 test in Japan, so I went over there and I tried the car, which was pretty impressive actually. It's a shame that in Europe we don't know that much about it, but it's an amazing car and an amazing championship.
"The car is really impressive and it is a works team, so they are very professional, and I was really impressed with everything. It's more of a Prototype than a GT car – carbon chassis, lots of downforce, the way that the suspension and the geometry is done. So it was a big change from what I'm used to. I didn't have many laps because they were also testing three other Japanese drivers, but it was very good. So that is another possibility."
Monteiro has won two WTCC races since making his debut in the championship in 2007.