Former F1 driver Cristiano da Matta has slammed well-known F1 engineer Mike Gascoyne.
In 2003, Gascoyne – who currently heads the technical side at Caterham – joined the now-defunct Toyota outfit, whose driver at the time was Brazilian da Matta. Before the end of the following season, da Matta – who subsequently returned to American open wheel racing and was seriously injured in a 2006 Champ Car crash – was ousted.
So how did da Matta’s F1 career really end?
“I don’t know if I can say this,” the 39-year-old told Brazil’s Totalrace, “but in the end the big problem was Mike Gascoyne. He joined the team earning a lot (of money), but every new thing he did, we just got worse, not better.”
History recounts that Toyota ousted da Matta not only for a lack of performance, but because he was verbally critical of the car’s technical direction. Gascoyne also split with Toyota, early in 2006, reportedly due to technical differences with the former Cologne based team.
“Now comes the gossip,” da Matta continued. “In 2005, when I had returned to Indy, I was in Long Beach and I saw a guy wearing a Toyota shirt. I thought, ‘What is this guy doing here?’ He came to me and said, ‘Da Matta-San. I’m here on behalf of Toyota. The things you said in the past were right’.
“I told him I was happy even if the news had come late, but that I liked the respect that he had for my work.”