Toyota's Mika Salo talks about his three week break and looks ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix. "The three-week break was a great chance for me - and probably for all other drivers in Formula 1 - to catch up with my family. The Salos were on ...
Toyota's Mika Salo talks about his three week break and looks ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"The three-week break was a great chance for me - and probably for all other drivers in Formula 1 - to catch up with my family. The Salos were on my boat, called "Kaizoku" - which is Japanese for "pirate" - in the Mediterranean. We were motoring around the islands near the Italian coast and it was just perfect: great weather and calm seas. What made it even more relaxing is that there was a permanent crew on the boat, so I did not have to worry about navigating or tides. I just sat there and enjoyed the ride!"
"However, it wasn't all rest and relaxation. The break since the German Grand Prix wasn't long enough to forget about racing altogether and, with Hungary the next race on the calendar, I've done a lot of fitness work because it is a very physical race. Every day for the past week I went for long swims in the sea, I did some jet skiing, some weights which I have on the boat and I took our dinghy ashore to do some running on the beach."
"On Friday I headed off to Viareggio in Italy for some extra training with the Panasonic Toyota Racing team doctor, Riccardo Ceccarelli. Of course my team-mate Allan McNish is there too. It is important to plan additional training times in which you just concentrate on proper work out without having other obligations."
"As for the Hungaroring, I've got to say that it's a difficult track to race. The circuit is slow and bumpy, but it has lots of run-off, so the drivers are not too much punished if they make a mistake. Added to this, the track is quite narrow, so it's not easy to overtake and that means that the qualifying session is extremely important. If you have a problem on Saturday afternoon, it is very hard to gain positions during the race on Sunday. The track gets used very little away from the grand prix weekend, which means that it's dirty at the start of the weekend. As a result, all the drivers try not to go out early on Friday in order to wait till there is enough rubber laid on the circuit."
"Usually it is very hot in Hungary at this time of year and, given that there are no long straights, there is no chance for the drivers to take a breather. We are always doing something, be it braking or turning the wheel, which makes it tiring over a race distance and can even lead to mechanical failures."
"As to our progress in Hungary, I'm unable to predict what will happen to the TF102 and the Panasonic Toyota Racing team. However, the fact that at we were able to finish the race at Hockenheim with one car, after a period of unfinished races, makes me quite confident. Furthermore I am sure that the team has used the summer break in the best way to improve the competitiveness of the TF102. I hope this turns out to be a good weekend for us because there will be a lot of Finns in the grandstands. I know that the airlines are putting on extra flights between Helsinki and Budapest to cope with the demand, and it would mean a lot to me to get a good result in front of them."