Salo hunkers down at Toyota

Salo hunkers down at Toyota

Mika Salo experienced the biggest shock of his winter testing to date in Barcelona on Thursday, running in traffic for the first time in the team's TF102. "At the end of the day, I got a new set of tires, and I started to smile, as felt I could...

Mika Salo experienced the biggest shock of his winter testing to date in Barcelona on Thursday, running in traffic for the first time in the team's TF102.

"At the end of the day, I got a new set of tires, and I started to smile, as felt I could do a good lap with those," Salo recounted.

"But then a Sauber pulled out from the pits, and drove in front of me for half a lap. I went into full panic mode, as I couldn't get my car to turn in at all. When I lost the downforce from the front wing, the car began to understeer extremely badly."

Mika Salo.
Photo by Toyota Motorsport.

The veteran Finn communicated the problem to the Toyota engineers immediately, and the team is now working on resolving the issue, with little time to spare.

Salo is responsible for the car's aerodynamic development, while his teammate, Allan McNish, who has much less Formula One experience, is focusing on endurance tests. The team is expecting to have a set of revised wings available for next week's tests at the Valencia circuit.

According to Salo's manager, Mike Greasley, the Finn has a secure future at the team as long as he wants to deal with the pressure.

"We know, that even an organization as big as Toyota will take a while to climb to the top," said Greasley. "Mika has the option to drive for Toyota as long as he wants, but someday he may wake up and decide that driving is no longer fun."

In the meantime, Salo, McNish and the entire Toyota organization have their work cut out for them to get ready for the 2002 season.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Allan McNish , Mika Salo
Teams Sauber