Da Matta and Toyota

Cristiano da Matta wants to race in Formula 1 next year - and Toyota want to use him but it seems that da Matta's future is controlled somewhat by the Brazilian's team owner Carl Haas. Da Matta has one more year to go in his Newman Haas Racing deal. Sources are suggesting that Haas is asking for a $10m pay-off from Toyota. Haas has nothing to lose because he is intending to stay in CART next year while Toyota is moving off to a new program in the rival Indy Racing League and a large pay-off would help him fund his plan to strengthen CART by running a three-car team. Haas is a CART shareholder and the promoter of the races at Milwaukee and in Houston, Texas (although this is off the CART calendar this year).

Haas is keen to hold on to da Matta as he has already lost Christian Fittipaldi, who is moving to NASCAR, and would have to find three new drivers for next year if Toyota took da Matta to Europe. Scottish driver Dario Fanchitti is tipped to take one of the available drives.

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