Imola, San Marino, Italy: Sunday 2 May, 1999 -- The 555 World Racing Team today made a positive step in progress towards serious competitiveness by completing 61 of the 62 lap San Marino Grand Prix, to show that it could cover a significant race...
Imola, San Marino, Italy: Sunday 2 May, 1999 -- The 555 World Racing Team today made a positive step in progress towards serious competitiveness by completing 61 of the 62 lap San Marino Grand Prix, to show that it could cover a significant race distance. 555 driver, Mika Salo whose car stopped in the pits as Michael Schumacher ended the race taking the chequered flag, was classified 7th overall. The reason being that, in accordance with FIA regulations, even though Mika did not finish the entire race distance, the car following him was three laps behind, a distance which would have been impossible to make up. As the newest team to join the Formula One paddock, the 555 World Racing Team has competed in only three Grand Prix since its launch in January 1999. The amount of track covered in this race showed that the hard teamwork and experience gained so far are paying off.
At the San Marino Grand Prix the 555 World Racing Team driver had not let his determination be shaken when he started the race from the back of the grid in 19th position.. Progressing his way up the leader-board, Salo pushed his car for power but encountered difficulty towards the end of the race.
"I had a good start and passed quite a few cars. It was going well for a while but then the engine sound went flat and I lost a lot of power and all the gain I had at the start. That was the reason I found difficulty keeping up with the race leaders and got passed on the straights. The team did have really fast pit stops and everything went smoothly. It was just in the last lap when I came to break in the final corner, the engine seemed to die and I came straight in the pits and that was the end of my race. Although the car stopped on the last lap we were classified 7th so it was a result that was satisfying. The 555 World Racing Team now has to investigate the cause of the failure," said Mika.
Mika Salo an experienced Formula One driver was replacing official 555 World Racing Team driver, Ricardo Zonta who injured himself at the Brazilian Grand Prix. At the end of the race Salo commented that his tough fitness regime through the Finnish winter helped him to endure the tremendous physical pressure of being back in world-class competition for the first time this season.
The next FIA Formula One race takes place in Monte Carlo, Monaco on 16 May 1999.