Cristiano da Matta


Cristiano da Matta
Cristiano da Matta
Cdmlb06.jpg
Nationality Brazil Brazilian
Champ Car career
Active years 1999–2002, 2005–2006
Team(s) Arciero-Wells (1999), PPI Motorsports (2000), Newman-Haas (2001-2002), PKV Racing (2005), Dale Coyne Racing (2006), RuSPORT (2006)
Race starts 101
Championships 1
Wins 12
Podium finishes 20
Pole positions 7
First race 1999 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami
First win 2000 Target Grand Prix (Chicago)
Last win 2005 G.I. Joe's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland
Last race 2006 Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose
Cristiano da Matta
Damatta usgp 2004 stage.jpg
Born 19 September 1973 (1973-09-19) (age 38)
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality Brazil Brazilian
Active years 20032004
Teams Toyota
Races 28
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 13
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 2003 Australian Grand Prix
Last race 2004 German Grand Prix

Cristiano Monteiro da Matta (born September 19, 1973 in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil) is an auto racing driver, winner of the American CART Championship in 2002, and former Formula One driver with the Toyota team.

Contents

Career biography

Origins and early career

Da Matta driving for West Surrey Racing at Silverstone during the 1995 British Formula Three Championship season.

Da Matta's father was Toninho da Matta, a 14-time Brazilian touring car champion. He began karting at the age of 16, adopting a helmet design nearly identical to his famous father's helmet. He quickly rose to the top by winning numerous karting championships before winning the 1993 Brazilian Formula Ford championship. In 1994, he continued his successful ways, winning the Formula Three Sudamericana championship. In 1995, da Matta participated in the British Formula Three series, winning one race and placing eighth in the standings. He then placed 8th in the following year's Formula 3000 championship, with a best finish of 4th at Pau.

North American racing

1997 saw da Matta move to the United States for the Indy Lights racing series, in which he won Rookie of the Year honors. The next year (1998), he won the championship by winning 7 races and securing 4 pole positions. In 1999, da Matta raced in the CART series for Team Arciero Wells, which were running Toyota engines; da Matta drove a Toyota-powered car from then until 2004. His first win came in 2000, and despite some sponsor opposition he joined the front-running Newman/Haas Racing team for 2001. He won the CART drivers' championship in 2002 under Toyota power with the Newman/Haas Racing team, dominating the year with 7 race wins and 7 poles.

Formula One

Da Matta driving for the Toyota team at the 2004 United States Grand Prix.

Da Matta completed his move up the racing ladder in 2003, reaching the pinnacle of motor sport with the Toyota Formula One team. He scored 10 championship points that year, four more than seasoned veteran and teammate Olivier Panis, and soon made a name for himself in Formula One when he spent much of the first half of the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix hounding reigning World Champion Michael Schumacher in the monsoon-hit race. His fortunes took a downturn in 2004, however. Having scored only 3 championship points, da Matta lost his race seat to Ricardo Zonta after the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. This was not only due to performance issues, but also due to Da Matta openly making statements about how uncompetitive the Toyota was. Da Matta vowed to never again race in Formula One, as he felt it was not competitive enough, with too much emphasis on car performance.

Return to USA

In 2005, da Matta moved back to the Champ Car World Series, to race for the PKV Racing team. That season he won the race at Portland, and finished 11th overall in the standings. For the 2006 Champ Car season, he switched to the Dale Coyne Racing to drive the No.19 Ford Lola, until June 9, 2006, when he switched teams again, to take over A.J. Allmendinger's seat at RuSPORT.[1] Second place at San Jose left him 6th overall in the series.

Collision with deer during test

On August 3, 2006 da Matta's car was involved in a collision with a deer that ran in front of him as he headed towards turn 6 during Champ Car open testing at Road America. He hit the deer with his right front tire, the deer then flew back and hit da Matta in the cockpit.[2] It is believed when the deer hit da Matta in the cockpit, he was knocked unconscious. He remained unconscious with his foot still on the brake when the safety crew arrived and extricated da Matta from the car.[3] Da Matta was then airlifted to Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisconsin, where he underwent surgery to remove a subdural hematoma.[4] Following the surgery, da Matta was placed in an induced coma, to allow for the swelling to subside.[5] As of August 7, da Matta was making "slow but steady progress", while the doctors were working on reducing da Matta's level of sedation.[6] This slow recovery was confirmed on August 9, as it was reported that da Matta was able to move "all of his extremities spontaneously as well as in response to physical stimulation".[7] On August 20, da Matta was transferred out of intensive care.[8] On August 30, da Matta was confirmed to have made steady progress, conversing in English and Portuguese, and walking short distances.[9] On 21 September 2006, da Matta was allowed to leave the hospital after having recovered better than expected.[10]

When the Champ Car World Series returned to race in the Grand Prix of Road America on September 24, da Matta gave the traditional command - "start your engines". Throughout the next couple of years, he engaged in a training and therapy regime while deciding his racing future.[11]

Comeback

On March 20, 2008 da Matta climbed back into a race car for the first time since his accident, completing a two-day test in a Riley Daytona Prototype prepared by reigning Rolex Sports Car Series champions GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing. He found speed right away, and team owner Bob Stallings said "the comeback has begun." [12] da Matta said, "After the test, I realized 'I still know how to do this, I remember this very well. The biggest thing I felt after the test was just a sense of relief. For me, it was a big, big relief, bigger than big."[citation needed] da Matta paired with former Champ Car champion, Jimmy Vasser, to enter the Rolex Series racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2008.[13] after a solid race, the pair were classified in 32nd position.

Brazilian Championship Formula Truck

In December 2009, Da Matta tested team's Iveco truck,[2] and in January 2010 confirmed that he'll race the 2010 Fórmula Truck season for the Iveco team.[3]

Racing career

Complete International Formula 3000 results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 DC Points
1996 Pacific Racing NÜR
9
PAU
4
PER
5
HOC
Ret
SIL
Ret
SPA
10
MAG
5
EST
7
MUG
Ret
HOC
Ret
9th 7

American Open-Wheel racing

(key)

CART/Champ Car

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Rank Points
1999 Arciero-Wells MIA
14
MOT
Ret
LBH
Ret
NAZ
4
RIO
Ret
GAT
Ret
MIL
11
POR
11
CLE
Ret
ROA
Ret
TOR
Ret
MIC
Ret
DET
Ret
MDO
9
CHI
14
VAN
5
LS
Ret
HOU
11
SRF
Ret
FON
Ret
18th 32
2000 PPI Motorsports MIA
12
LBH
Ret
RIO
4
MOT
4
NAZ
13
MIL
14
DET
Ret
POR
5
CLE
3
TOR
4*
MIC
Ret
CHI
1
MDO
Ret
ROA
Ret
VAN
7
LS
15
GAT
4
HOU
14
SRF
4
FON
Ret
10th 112
2001 Newman/Haas MTY
1*
LBH
2
FTW
C
NAZ
10
MOT
Ret
MIL
Ret
DET
7
POR
10
CLE
7
TOR
Ret
MIC
4
CHI
19
MDO
10
ROA
6
VAN
Ret
LAU
Ret
ROC
3
HOU
6
LS
Ret
SRF
1
FON
1
5th 140
2002 Newman/Haas MTY
1*
LBH
8
MOT
13
MIL
11
LS
1*
POR
1*
CHI
1*
TOR
1*
CLE
16
VAN
12
MDO
13
ROA
1
MTL
2
DEN
3
ROC
2
MIA
1*
SRF
8*
FON
11
MXC
2
1st 237
2005 PKV LBH
10
MTY
6
MIL
11
POR
1*
CLE
16
TOR
17
EDM
17
SJO
10
DEN
18
MTL
6
LAS
12
SRF
19
MXC
14
11th 139
2006 Dale Coyne Racing LBH
5
HOU
9
MTY
9
MIL
Ret
13th 134
RuSPORT POR
5
CLE
14
TOR
5
EDM
Ret
SJO
2
DEN MTL ROA SRF MXC

Complete Formula One results

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 WDC Pts.
2003 Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota TF103 Toyota V10 AUS
Ret
MAL
11
BRA
10
SMR
12
ESP
6
AUT
10
MON
9
CAN
11
EUR
Ret
FRA
11
GBR
7
GER
6
HUN
11
ITA
Ret
USA
9
JPN
7
13th 10
2004 Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota TF104 Toyota V10 AUS
12
MAL
9
BHR
10
SMR
Ret
ESP
13
MON
6
EUR
Ret
CAN
DSQ
USA
Ret
FRA
14
GBR
13
GER
Ret
HUN BEL ITA CHN JPN BRA 17th 3

External links

References

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Fernando Croceri
Brazilian Formula Three Champion
1994
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
Tony Kanaan
Indy Lights Champion
1998
Succeeded by
Oriol Servià
Preceded by
Gil de Ferran
CART Series Champion
2002
Succeeded by
Paul Tracy
Preceded by
Colin Edwards
Jeff Gordon
Jimmie Johnson
Race of Champions
Nations' Cup

2003 with:
Fonsi Nieto
Gilles Panizzi
Succeeded by
Jean Alesi
Sébastien Loeb

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