CHAMPCAR/CART: Da Matta sad at Champ Car regression

Christiano da Matta is sad that the CART series is heading into decline as teams and drivers leave, despite it being the best motor racing in America.

The Indy Racing League is attracting drivers but da Matta thinks the oval-only racing will not be of interest to those outside the US. The 2002 CART champion made the switch to Formula One when he was signed up by Toyota recently in a move that came at the right time, as CART looks to be on rocky ground.

Cristiano da Matta talks to Toyota team members.
Photo by Toyota Racing.
"I am very sad about the way Champ Cars are going," da Matta told Reuters. "It is such a good series because the equipment is so similar and teams are (at a) very high level. But now many teams and drivers are leaving, and I think the series will go back to what it was like in the late 1980s and early '90s, where there were a few good drivers and teams."

"The only real motorsport there is in America today is Champ Cars. The IRL is a good series -- and is getting better in everything -- but it is only ovals. For Americans, it is a good series but, if you look at it from the world point of view, I don't think a guy from Europe or Australia or Japan will want to go to America to race IRL."

The oval-only format of IRL could change as reportedly it has been looking into running road courses in the future but da Matta hopes CART boss Chris Pook will keep improving the series: "I think he (Pook) has done a very good job this year, especially from what was put in his hands," da Matta said.

"He has already improved it a lot. Next year is definitely a crucial year for the series, but I just hope for the best because it is such a better series than anything else in the United States."