Date of Birth: 19 September 1973
Birthplace: Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Marital status: Single
Points Score: 0
Number of GP: 0
Pole Positions: 0
First GP: 2003 (Melbourne)
Best Result: 0
Current Team: Toyota F1
||Formula Ford Brazil|
||Indy Lights Series, 3rd.|
||Indy Lights, champion.|
||CART (Arciero Wells)|
||CART (PPI Motorsports), 10th.|
||CART (Newman Haas), 5th.|
||CART (Newman Haas), champion.|
Cristiano da Matta was born on 19 September
1973 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil to a father, Toninho, who was a 14-time Brazilian
touring car champion with a career spanning three decades. In 1990, Cristiano
started in the Go-Kart series and was a winner from the start. Adopting an
identical helmet to the one his father wore, only alternating the colour red to
blue, in two-and-a-half years he won every title.
He was the winner of
the Minas Championship in 1990 and 1991, the 1991 Brazilian Championship, the
1992 Rio-Minas Championship, and the 1992 Sao Paulo Championship. Da Matta's
next step was the 1993 Brazilian Formula Ford Championship and he won the title
with 4 victories.
He moved up to Formula 3 in 1994, winning the
Brazilian Championship with 4 wins and 2 races to go. The following year, he
went to England for the British Formula 3 Series and achieved one victory.
Whilst taking part in Formula 3000 in 1996, he started to seriously consider
racing in the USA and, in 1997, he relocated to the USA for the Indy Lights
Series. Finishing the season in the 3rd position he was given the "Rookie of the
In 1998, he signed with the Tasman team and won the title
with 4 victories. After only 2 years in the Indy Lights series, Da Matta
achieved 7 wins and 4 pole positions. 1999 was Cristiano's first year in the
CART Championship. Team Arciero Wells, which was powered by Toyota engines,
called him up and the Brazilian impressed in the opening race with 4th position
on the grid, the best of all the Toyota-powered drivers. 2 races after that, in
Nazareth, he earned a best finish of 4th.
In 2000, Cristiano drove for
PPI Motorsports Toyota/Reynard (previously named Arciero Wells). He took his
first victory in the CART series at Chicago and was placed 10th in the overall
championship standings. He then moved on to the Newman-Haas team in 2001 and
took his Toyota-powered Lola to 3 victories and a total of 5 podium finishes to
finish 5th in the CART championship.
In 2002, he claimed victory in the
CART drivers' championship with Newman-Haas Racing and Toyota, dominating the
series with 7 poles, 7 victories and a total of 11 podium finishes. He now moves
to Formula One with Toyota on a two-year contract with Panasonic Toyota Racing.
This new move sees him take an already successful relationship to an exciting
new level in 2003.