F1 career in numbers: Mika Salo

On this day in 2002, Michael Schumacher won the Canadian Grand Prix in his Ferrari F2002. This was Ferrari’s 150th win in Formula 1. But the other less obvious milestone on that day was that Mika Salo started his 100th race in F1 driving for Toyota.

F1 career in numbers: Mika Salo
Listen to this article

It’s quite nice that both these drivers had something to celebrate on the same day, with Salo having replaced Schumacher in 1999 for six grands prix when the German driver broke a leg in a crash at the British Grand Prix.

Salo was born in Helsinki in 1966, but wasn’t a driver who blew the competition away in the junior classes on his way to F1.

He was still impressive in his Formula Ford years, and was second in the British F3 championship in 1990 when his countryman Mika Hakkinen clinched the title. He was also runner-up in the F3 Macau GP in 1990 when Michael Schumacher won.

After that, Salo raced in the Japanese F3000 series where he scored just one podium from 1991 until 1994. But next to his highs and lows in the lower formulas, Salo had some good moments in F1.

Races started: 109

Mika Salo, Lotus 109

Mika Salo, Lotus 109

Photo by: Sutton Images

From 1994 to 2002, Mika Salo started 109 grands prix, the same number as Philippe Alliot. They are jointly ranked 63rd in the list of most experienced drivers in F1 history.

Salo made his F1 debut in 1994 when he replaced Frenchman Eric Bernard in the Lotus team for the Japanese Grand Prix. His experience of the Suzuka track through his Japanese F3000 exploits meant he was perfect for the Lotus outfit.

He started from 25th on the grid but managed to work his way up to 10th at the chequered flag. With the current F1 points’ structure he would have scored a point, but back then only the top six finishers were awarded.

Podium places: 2

Eddie Irvine, Ferrari and MIka Salo, Ferrari

Eddie Irvine, Ferrari and MIka Salo, Ferrari

Photo by: Sutton Images

Salo’s best race results came when he replaced the injured Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 1999. In the six races he contested for Ferrari, he scored two podium finishes in the F399.

Salo should have won the German Grand Prix, but was second after team orders meant he had to hand the win to teammate Eddie Irvine, who was in world championship contention.

In the race, Irvine’s title rival Mika Hakkinen was leading Salo early on before a tyre failure put him out. With Ferrari drivers running 1-2, the team wasted little time in reversing the positions.

Races in the points : 16

Mika Salo, Tyrrell 023 Yamaha

Mika Salo, Tyrrell 023 Yamaha

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Although the Ferrari stint was clearly the highlight of his career, Sato also secured respectable results for other teams. From his 109 starts, he finished in the points 16 times (that’s 17.4% of his races).

Perhaps the most memorable of those were his first points in the 1995 Italian Grand Prix when he raced for Tyrrell. He qualified his Tyrrell 023 in P16 and made a rocky start to drop back to 21st in the order. But thanks to a full attack mode and a decent pit stop strategy, he finished in fifth after 52 laps.

Races led: 2

Salo led two races during his time in F1, both when driving for Ferrari in 1999 and both for just one lap. As well as that Hockenheim race, he led at Monza. The Italian GP had been good for him in 1995 when he raced there for the first time in F1, and in 1999 he scored his second podium at the same venue. He qualified his Ferrari on P6 for the race but finished on the podium (P3), helped by a late one-stop strategy.

After F1

#82 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT: Jaime Melo, Pierre Kaffer, Mika Salo

#82 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT: Jaime Melo, Pierre Kaffer, Mika Salo

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

After his time in F1, Salo raced most of the time with Ferrari GT machinery in many endurance races and series.

Some notable trophies he collected were the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2014 with Maranello Motorsport, the American Le Mans Series title in the GT2 class with Risi Competizione and the LMGT2 class win with Risi Competizione in the Le Mans 24 Hours alongside Jaime Melo and Pierre Kaffer.

He stopped racing at a professional level at the end of 2014, and more recently has been in the spotlight as one of the driver stewards for F1 races.

Sources:

www.forix.com

www.motorsportstats.com = https://results.motorsportstats.com/drivers/mika-salo/career

shares
comments
Race of My Life: Juan Manuel Fangio on the 1957 German GP
Previous article

Race of My Life: Juan Manuel Fangio on the 1957 German GP

Next article

Ricciardo: F1 doesn’t need "messy" reverse grids idea

Ricciardo: F1 doesn’t need "messy" reverse grids idea
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022