Zonta stays Toyota's third driver

Ricardo Zonta will remain as Toyota's third driver in Formula 1 next season after the team confirmed it plans to run him alongside Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli in Friday practice throughout 2005

Zonta stays Toyota's third driver

The Brazilian has impressed the team with his feedback this year and he was promoted to a race seat from the Hungarian Grand Prix after the team grew disillusioned with the progress of Cristiano da Matta. Zonta subsequently came close to finishing fourth in the Belgian Grand Prix before being forced out of the race in the closing stages with an engine failure.

And although the vastly experienced Olivier Panis has decided to stay on with Toyota in a testing and ambassadorial role, the team has decided to hand Zonta the third driver job for Fridays.

Team principal Tsutomu Tomita said: "Along with Olivier, Ricardo has demonstrated a strong commitment and motivation to the team over the last two years. I firmly believe that both Olivier and Ricardo will excel in test and development roles."

Current third driver Ryan Briscoe is pushing for a race seat in F1 next season, even though he remains under contract with Toyota. He has been linked with opportunities at both Minardi and Jordan.

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