This Week in Ford Racing July 5, 2005 Champ Car World Series Cristiano da Matta, driver of the No. 21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Lola, currently sits sixth in the Champ Car World Series point standings heading into this weekend's event in Toronto.
This Week in Ford Racing
July 5, 2005
Champ Car World Series
Cristiano da Matta, driver of the No. 21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Lola, currently sits sixth in the Champ Car World Series point standings heading into this weekend's event in Toronto. His recent efforts have landed him his first win of the season (Portland) and almost the pole in Cleveland (started second). This being his first season back in Champ Car after taking two years to race with F1, he's had a chance to reflect on his new team and his experience.
Cristiano da Matta - No. 21 - Bell Micro/PKV Racing Lola
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON UPCOMING STREET RACES?
"We've been competitive each week. Recently it seems like it has been between me and Tracy. We've been ahead of everyone lately. It is difficult to say with the upcoming races. We've been real good with flowing tracks like Cleveland, Portland -- doing the best we can. But, on the street course, the last time we were on one of those was the first race of the year. So many things have changed in the team since Long Beach. We weren't very competitive back then, but so many things have changed. We may be a lot better and a lot more competitive. So, I'm actually anxious to get there and see how it's going to go."
EXACTLY WHAT CHANGES HAVE TAKEN PLACE WITH THE TEAM?
"It's only my fifth year in the series, so I'm not a veteran. We all feel like everyone is working well together, both drivers have been collaborating, sharing information about the car. All the engineers have really been on their work with a lot of attention to really tuning the car. Same with the crew. There is a lot of teamwork. Everyone is getting use to each other. A new team -- all new people on the team at the beginning of the year. It's all beginning to come together now. I'm expecting good results, but it's difficult to predict just how we will do when we get to the street course."
WHAT ARE SOME COMPARISONS YOU CAN SHARE COMING BACK TO CHAMP CAR AFTER TWO YEARS WITH F1?
"I've been working with better engineers here than I did when I was in F1. I've been able to learn a lot more with these guys over here and with the couple years I spent here before going to F1. You only learn when you have good teachers and when you don't have good teachers you don't learn as much. I've learned a lot all the years I've spent in the States -- I was always lucky to work with very good guys. And, the two years I spent in Europe, I didn't have the same luck. So, I learned a lot about driving, just by being able to drive different cars and the electronics. The atmosphere is really so different between F1 and Champ Car. As a driver, you're there to race and go quick."
IF YOU WERE TO ADD A RACE TO THE SCHEDULE, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO?
"I just keep my fingers crossed and hope that we race in Brazil, because not racing in Brazil and not having a race in Florida I don't have a 'home' race anymore, so I really wish Brazil was back on the schedule."