F1

Andersson explains driver decision

Andersson explains driver decision

Toyota boss Ove Andersson has explained why he decided to drop both Allan McNish and Mika Salo at the end of the 2002 season, in favour of an all new driver line up. The pair were replaced by Olivier Panis and Christiano da Matta for 2003:...

Toyota boss Ove Andersson has explained why he decided to drop both Allan McNish and Mika Salo at the end of the 2002 season, in favour of an all new driver line up. The pair were replaced by Olivier Panis and Christiano da Matta for 2003: Andersson said McNish didn't do a good enough job in qualifying and Salo had a negative attitude that was not helpful.

"First look at Allan," Andersson told F1 Racing magazine. "He's very good at PR and he works very well with the team. But I only gave him a go on the understanding that, if it didn't work out, he'd be prepared to step out of the car after the first three races. He did a good enough job to warrant a whole season, but I think it's fair to say that he struggled too much in qualifying."

Mika Salo and Allan McNish.
Photo by Toyota Racing.
Salo was relying on the fact that he had an ongoing contract with Toyota but it wasn't enough for him to keep his seat: "As for Mika, he did a very good job for us on the track, but there's a clear feeling in the team that we needed a change of direction," Andersson said. "Sometimes Mika could be very negative which wasn't useful. Olivier, on the other hand, is a very positive person and that was the key factor in hiring him."

Andersson believes that Toyota can be in the points more often in 2003 and the team must live up to the expectations put upon it: "I have a feeling that next year's car will be better in every way. I hope we'll be in a position to fight for points in every race. That is the step that everyone -- internally and externally -- will expect from us, so we quite simply must do it."

McNish has been linked with a possible move to a US racing series although he recently said he is still in talks with certain people in Formula One. Salo promptly said he was going to quit racing when he was dropped by Toyota and has since been quiet on the subject of his future.

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