Cristiano was airlifted to Theda Clark Memorial Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma on 03/08/06 after his car collided with a deer on-track during the day's Champ Car Open Test at Road America.
Cristiano's first F1 race was in Australia 2003. His last F1 race was in Germany 2004.
Cristiano was named in the 2001 CART All-Star team.
Cristiano gained his first CART victory at the Chicago Motor Speedway in 2000, holding off Michael Andretti by a mere 1.6 seconds.
In Cristiano's first race in Champ Car, he set a then-record sixth place qualifying start for Toyota, since the engine manufacturer joined the series in 1996.
Cristiano's mother wanted him to become a world-class swimmer or gymnast. Although he was competitive in both sports, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, Antonio.
Cristiano's father's racing career ended in the 1980s due to an automobile accident.
Outside the racing world, Cristiano's interests including playing the guitar, swimming, and mountain biking. He also participated in gymnastics as a youth, at one point training with the Club Flamengo's Olympic team. Still single, he now lives in Miami, Florida and Monaco.
Cristiano moved back to Champ Cars in the PKV Racing team to race in the 2005 season. He returned to his winning ways, scoring a popular win in the fourth round of the season in Portland, Oregon, although he hit a lean spell after that, and ended up 11th in the championship points.
Cristiano drove for the Toyota F1 team at the USGP. He completed his move up the racing ladder in 2003, reaching the pinnacle of motor sport with the Toyota F1 team. He scored 10 championship points that year, four more than seasoned veteran and team-mate Olivier Panis. His fortunes took a downturn in 2004 and he lost his race seat to Ricardo Zonta.
Cristiano won the CART drivers' championship in 2002 under Toyota power with the Newman/Haas Racing team. He dominated the year with 7 race wins and 7 poles.
Cristiano began karting at the age of 16, using a helmet design almost identical to his famous father's helmet.
Cristiano's father was Toninho da Matta, a 14-time Brazilian touring car champion.
Cristiano led a F1 grand prix 1 time during 18 laps in 1 Grand Prix with a total of 92.538 Km. He started 28 F1 GPs, finishing 19 of them and retiring 6 times. He finished in the points 5 times.
Cristiano's career history:
1990 - Minas Championship: 1st
1991 - Minas Championship: 1st
1992 - Rio-Minas Championship: 1st & Sao Paolo Championship: 1st
1993 - Brazillian Formula Ford: 1st (4 wins, 4 pole positions)
1994 - Brazillian Formula 3: 1st (4 wins, 7 pole positions)
1995 - British Formula 3: 8th (1 win)
1996 - European Formula 3000: 8th
1997 - Indy Lights Series: 3rd (3 wins and "Rookie of the Year" title)
1998 - Indy Lights Series: Champion (4 wins)
1999 - FedEx CART: Arciero Wells/Toyota, 18th (runner-up to Juan Pablo Montoya for "Rookie of the Year" title)
2000 - FedEx CART: PPI Motorsports/Toyota, 10th (1 win)
2001 - FedEx CART: Newman Haas/Toyota, 5th (3 wins)
2002 - FedEx CART: Newman Haas/Toyota, 1th (7 wins, 7 poles)
2003 - Formula 1: Panasonic Toyota Racing
Cristiano: (on Sebastien Bourdais joining F1 in 2008) It's something that you just can't pass up. For someone growing up in Europe or South America, F1 is everything. When you get the chance, even at 28 years old and even with a team you know might not be able to win or compete for championships, you have to take it because you never know what will happen.
Cristiano: (almost fully recovered after his near fatal Champ Car smash in August, 2006) I'm very happy to now be able to do almost all the stuff I would do normally through any given day. I made a promise not to think about racing again before I'm 100 per cent recovered. I'm not being able to completely keep this promise, of course, but I try to stay away from the subject.
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