Toyota's Mika Salo reflects on the San Marino Grand Prix, testing at Mugello and looks ahead to Barcelona. "Retiring from a grand prix leaves you with a strange, hollow feeling. It's a bit like leaving a party before you're ready to go - you...
Toyota's Mika Salo reflects on the San Marino Grand Prix, testing at Mugello and looks ahead to Barcelona.
"Retiring from a grand prix leaves you with a strange, hollow feeling. It's a bit like leaving a party before you're ready to go - you want more. What made my retirement from last weekend's San Marino Grand Prix all-the-more frustrating was that we have had very few gearbox problems since the launch of the TF102."
"Still, I try to look at the positive side of every situation and what I take away from Imola is the fact that we know more about the car as a result of the failure. It leaves us better placed for the future because we have located a weakness. Everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing knows that we are going to have some hard races this year, and Imola was one of those occasions. It was all part of the learning process."
"After the race I had one day of rest with Noriko and baby Max - who attended his first grand prix at Imola and seemed to enjoy himself - before heading off to Mugello for a three-day test session. It was a productive test because we clocked up many trouble-free miles and we tried some new parts that helped to improve traction."
"Mugello was a good place to go because, in terms of layout, it is not dissimilar to Barcelona, which is where we are racing next weekend. There is a long straight and some quick corners, the combination of which results in a medium downforce set-up. If you can get a car working well around Mugello, you should be okay for Barcelona."
"As for the Spanish Grand Prix, I think it's going to be a hard race for us. Our car is still improving, but so are all the other teams'. Barcelona is the one track on the calendar that everyone knows extremely well because so much testing has been done there. So it is unlikely that any of the teams ahead of us will have the same set-up problems that affected them early on in the year."
"In terms of pace, I imagine that we'll qualify somewhere around the 16th; that's about where we are at the moment. But, my friends, don't be disheartened. Everyone who works for Panasonic Toyota Racing is a racer and a fighter. We will do whatever it takes to move up and grid - just watch us!"