Toyota confirms Da Matta

Toyota Motorsport GmbH has finally announced that 2002 CART champion Cristiano da Matta has signed a two-year contract to become a Formula 1 race driver for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team. The 29-year-old Brazilian will partner Frenchman Olivier Panis in 2003 and 2004.

"He joined Toyota at the start of his career in the CART programme," said Toyota Motorsport chairman Tsutomu Tomita, "and has shown his tremendous dedication and efforts by helping us to develop together to win the championship with Newman/Haas Racing this season. His long-term partnership with Toyota and his natural driving talent will prove an essential asset to us as our Formula 1 programme enters an exciting new stage of development."

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