Toyota's Mika Salo looks ahead to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. "Everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing was very pleased to get both of our TF102s to the finish of the Hungarian Grand Prix. We lacked a bit of performance over a...
Toyota's Mika Salo looks ahead to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
"Everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing was very pleased to get both of our TF102s to the finish of the Hungarian Grand Prix. We lacked a bit of performance over a single lap, but we had reliability over 75 laps. Psychologically, that was important for everyone."
"However, there were moments when I thought that I wouldn't make it to the end. My TF102's differential began to malfunction in the middle of the race, which meant that it oversteered quite a lot everywhere. Then, to make matters even more challenging, the in-car fire extinguisher went off with 20 laps to go, which was like sitting in a tub of freezing bubble bath! Every time I braked or changed direction - which is a lot at the Hungaroring - it splashed all over my visor and I couldn't see a thing. I really did have to drive a lot from memory."
"I now have quite a busy couple of weeks, given that the testing ban lasts until 1st September. I went from Hungary to my home in Lugano, Switzerland, where I had a relaxing few days with my wife Noriko and son Max. I also went out in the hills on my mountain bike and did a few weights, just to keep myself ticking over from a fitness point of view."
"On Friday morning, I flew to Helsinki to attend a dinner with Toyota Finland. They are really behind the F1 programme, so it was good to share some of their enthusiasm and eat in one of the finest restaurants in Helsinki. After that I will return to Switzerland to begin focusing on the next race at Spa-Francorchamps."
"I love Spa. I love its history and I love the challenge it presents to a driver. You have to be on top of your game in the cockpit because it is a long track and you don't get as many laps to set up the car as at other tracks. The cars are incredibly quick in places, which gives you a good feeling."
"People make a lot of whether or not you can take Eau Rouge flat-out. All the drivers talk about it on the drivers' parade on race day morning: who took it flat during qualifying, and who didn't. The thing is, in order to be quick around the whole lap, it's impossible to take Eau Rouge flat. To stop the car from bottoming out at the foot of Eau Rouge, you have to raise the ride-height, which would make the car less efficient around the rest of the lap."
"The Bus Stop chicane used to be too stop-start, but the organisers have eased its exit for this year and, judging by the pictures that I've seen, it looks much faster and flowing."
"I hope that the TF102 will be quite well-suited to Spa. We have a great engine in the RVX-02 to power us up the hills, and the balance of the car has been steadily improving throughout the year. There is, however, one variable at Spa that we can do nothing about and that's the weather. It can change from bright sunshine to rain in the blink of an eye and often it can be wet on one part of the track and dry in another."
"As you can see, there's plenty to keep us busy. I can't wait for practice to start on Friday."