Toyota's Mika Salo looks ahead to the United States Grand Prix. "The Italian Grand Prix was both encouraging and disappointing for everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing. The positives were that we were fast: I qualified in the top 10 for the...
Toyota's Mika Salo looks ahead to the United States Grand Prix.
"The Italian Grand Prix was both encouraging and disappointing for everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing. The positives were that we were fast: I qualified in the top 10 for the eighth time this year and we also made real progress with the way the car handled over the kerbs. Well done to everyone on the team for that."
"What was disappointing, however, was that neither Allan nor I finished in the points and the TF102s were capable of it. Allan retired with suspension problems after running in sixth, and I had some dramas, beginning early on when my rear tyres blistered, causing a lot of oversteer."
"Every Formula 1 car is on the edge at Monza because we run so little downforce but, at this point in the race my car was really difficult to drive. And then came the incident with the white line at the exit of the pitlane. I was looking in my left mirror for the two Renaults, with whom I was fighting for position, and, because I couldn't see them, I tried moving to the left to increase my field of vision. As it turned out, I moved too far."
"It was just one of those things and all I can do is apologise to the team because the subsequent drive-through penalty probably cost me sixth place and a points finish. On a lighter note, there is much for Panasonic Toyota Racing to be upbeat about at the moment. Test driver, Stéphane Sarrazin, ran next year's RVX-03 engine and the team's first seven-speed gearbox in the intermediary TF102B car at Paul Ricard this week. It was a major feat to run both parts so early and it can only be an advantage for the 2003 season. Both myself and Allan spent track time optimising the existing TF102 package for Indianapolis, testing some new aerodynamic parts."
"Looking ahead to the United States Grand Prix, I think it will be a difficult race for us. It is a track which we have never been to, not even with our TF101 test car. The twisty infield section of the track is very technical and one worry I have is that our mechanical grip might not be as good as some of our rivals. Having said that I will still be driving to the maximum because we all want another point before the year is out."
"The last three corners of the Indy road course are all first-gear, which makes it equivalent to Monaco, but without the barriers. Slow corners may not be so exciting to drive, but they are vital to the lap time. You can't make a lot of time in them, but you can lose a lot of time, so you have to treat them seriously. I enjoy going to Indianapolis because there is no doubt that it is a very special racetrack with a great history. The grandstands on the pit-straight are full to bursting point - like a Roman amphitheatre - so the atmosphere on race day is amazing."