Toyota announced on Thursday that Ricardo Zonta will replace Cristiano Da Matta and race alongside Olivier Panis for the remainder of the season, starting from next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Toyota announced on Thursday that Ricardo Zonta will replace Cristiano Da Matta and race alongside Olivier Panis for the remainder of the season, starting from next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Da Matta will continue to form part of Toyota’s F1 team for the remainder of the season and could still be called upon to partake in any driver- or marketing-related activities for the team.

"We revised our original plans after we reviewed the results of the last three Grands Prix,” Panasonic Toyota Racing team principal Tsutomu Tomita said.

”Ricardo Zonta consistently performed very well, as indeed he also did in the first half of the 2004 season. We believe it is fair to offer Ricardo the chance to show his potential in full race conditions, before we enter into the final step of our driver evaluation for the 2005 season.

”We decided to retain Olivier Panis as a race driver for the rest of this season, based on the fact that he is the driver who has secured the team's best race result of the year so far (fifth in Indianapolis) and has collected the higher number of championship points (five).

”Cristiano da Matta will remain a Panasonic Toyota Racing driver until the end of 2004 and could still be called upon to undertake activities accordingly," Tomita concluded.

Test driver Ryan Briscoe has been promoted and will now be running Toyota’s third car during free practice sessions on Fridays.