Cristiano da Matta has urged the Toyota Formula One team to decide on his future sooner rather than later so he will know where he stands for 2005.

The team has already confirmed that Ralf Schumacher will be joining from Williams for 2005, and with rumours linking David Coulthard, and possibly even Mika Hakkinen, with a move to the Cologne based outfit, there is a real possibility that both da Matta and team mate Olivier Panis could be out of a job at the end of the season.

At the British Grand Prix, technical director Mike Gascoyne said it was unlikely that any decision over a team mate for Schumacher would be made before the end of the season, but former CART champion da Matta would rather now know if his racing future lies with the team.

"I hope the announcement for the second driver comes much earlier," he told Reuters, "Tomorrow, this afternoon, as soon as possible, the sooner the better.

"Whatever happens, if I am the one that is going to stay, it would be much nicer to know this earlier. If I am not staying, it will be much nicer to know earlier too because then I can do some other things.

"I don't have any other offers and any other place and also it is not my plan to go anywhere else for next season. It's my second season here."

Both Toyota drivers have struggled with the car this season, with Panis 13th and da Matta 14th in the championship standings with just eight points between them. For that reason, da Matta hopes to remain with the team into next season so he can show them his true potential.

"The first season was okay, I had a decent car and everything," he said. "You cannot judge anything considering the car we have on our hands this year. So I am looking forward to getting a third season to try, at least for myself, to prove that I can do it.

"Right now this season for me is a question mark, our performance is so much lower than what I expected it to be. I need another season to try to take away the question marks.

"All we can do is go on the track, push as hard as we can, do the best job we can and help the team as much as we can as far as development goes. Apart from that, we have to hope they think it's enough."

 

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