Panasonic Toyota Racing has two new faces at the wheel for 2003, 36-year-old Frenchman Olivier Panis and 29-year-old Brazilian Cristiano da Matta. "As we enter an exciting new stage in Toyota's Formula 1 participation," says Team Manager Ange ...
Panasonic Toyota Racing has two new faces at the wheel for 2003, 36-year-old Frenchman Olivier Panis and 29-year-old Brazilian Cristiano da Matta. "As we enter an exciting new stage in Toyota's Formula 1 participation," says Team Manager Ange Pasquali, "we needed to bring with it a renewed sense of motivation. Olivier and Cristiano have very different, but complimentary personalities and racing experiences. Both have got excellent technical feedback and I think they are the ideal pair to help Toyota progress upwards in F1."
Q: Why did you join Toyota?
Da Matta "I have been driving Toyota-powered cars in CART for 4 years, so I am not a new Toyota driver in that sense. Toyota is a team that has a very big chance of progress and of being an F1 winner in the next few years."
Q: What are your expectations for 2003?
Panis "We have made a lot of progress so far and we are going in a good direction, but I do not want to set any concrete targets for 2003 until I have really learned the TF103."
Da Matta "I wouldn't like to set targets for 2003 too early. I would like to have some time to drive the TF103 before thinking about my aims for the racing season."
Q: What are your initial impressions of the team?
Panis "I want to say that I have been very impressed with the way the team works. They are very motivated and they want to win, so I am very positive in this respect."
Da Matta "I have concentrated on simply getting to know the F1 car and working on general car set-up, but I am very happy working with the team. They are a very talented group of people. We have already had some positive tests and I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the TF103."