AUGUST 3, 2002
Da Matta and Toyota
There are lots of stories flying about at the moment suggesting that Toyota is close to signing a deal for Cristiano da Matta to come to Formula 1 next year. The big question is who is making the decisions at Toyota. It is no secret that Toyota in Japan is keen on the idea of shifting da Matta to Europe. But the Formula 1 team in Cologne is not convinced and would prefer to sign up a driver with Formula 1 experience.
Da Matta has done a very good job in CART, winning seven of the last 12 races in his Chevron-sponsored Newman-Haas Lola-Toyota, but he does not know Formula 1 and will bring added publicity to the team without necessarily bringing better results. This is not what the team needs. Having said that, there is a school of thought in F1 circles that neither Mika Salo nor Allan McNish is at a level to fully take advantage of the technical package available to them. However, as the team is in the process of designing a new car and a new engine for next year it might be wiser to keep the same drivers.
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