Cristiano da Matta returns to racing

2008 F1 season

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Former Formula 1 driver Cristiano da Matta has returned to racing just over a year and a half since his near-fatal accident in America.

Da Matta driver for Toyota but returned to the American Champ Car series and, in a manner eerily similar to Alessandro Zanardi, suffered very serious injuries in a freak accident shortly after making his comeback.

Da Matta was testing at the Elkhart Lake circuit in mid-2006 when his car struck a deer which had got onto the circuit. He was hospitalised for two months with severe head injuries.

Although his F1 career was brief (28 starts) the charming Brazilian was very well-liked. He spent a year and a half at Toyota, a team who have spent a lot of money achieving very little, and it’s fair to assume a better team might have gotten more out of him.

His last F1 Grand Prix was the German race at Hockenheimin in 2004 (pictured above and below). He scored his best career result, sixth, at the same track a year earlier, and also at Spain in 2003 and Monaco in 2004. I was at Silverstone in 2003 when he led a Grand Prix for the one and only time in his career.

He looks set to put single-seater racing behind him and has tested a GrandAm car with a view to racing one at Laguna Seca in two months’ time. Good luck to him.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Cristiano da Matta returns to racing”

  1. Good on yer, Da Matta. I’m pleased he’s not given up on motor racing and intends to return. The best of luck from me as well.

  2. Good man,get back on that horse!

    God’s speed Cristiano.

  3. Cristiano’s crash was the most bizarre incident I’ve ever heard of. Colliding with an animal at 100 km/h in a public road is almost certainly fatal… imagine what he felt when he saw the deer in front of him!

    I remember that, at the time, at least in Brazil, it was less commented than it should, because his accident should have raised safety concerns, especially at race tracks that are built in rural areas, through small forests or so, like the old Hockenheimring was and Spa-Francorchamps still is…

    It’s so good to have him back… my best wishes for him, as well!

  4. this is the best news i’ve read in a while. zanardi is the only driver i really still make a point of keeping track of, da matta will be the second. 

  5. This is great to hear! Christiano da Matta re-starting his career makes me feel very happy. It says a lot about the standard of medical care da Matta received that this is possible, so thanks must go to them, as well as to Christiano himself for not letting some stray animal put him off motor racing.

  6. Best wishes to this very determined racer as he seeks to resume his career!

  7. It was really sad the way Toyota, without any sense of responsibility, completely destroyed his racing career.
    I’m happy to see he’s recovered and wish him well.

  8. luiz claudio
    27th March 2008, 16:18

    the best notice of the year.
    good luck,christiano.

  9. Good luck Cristiano, I never thought he’d make it back.

  10. He’s Definetelly a winner!
    God Bless you Kiki!

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