Toyota's Mika Salo recalls his problems from Europe and looks ahead to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next weekend. "As it turned out, the European Grand Prix was a very disappointing race for me. I was pleased to qualify 10th - my fifth...
Toyota's Mika Salo recalls his problems from Europe and looks ahead to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next weekend.
"As it turned out, the European Grand Prix was a very disappointing race for me. I was pleased to qualify 10th - my fifth top 10 grid position of the year - and I was confident that the car would be good in the race, but it did not work out that way unfortunately!"
"I had driven the car with a heavy fuel load on Friday and it felt good, so I opted for a one-stop strategy come Sunday. Sadly, within a lap of the start, the rear tyres started to rapidly deteriorate as a result of my heavier fuel load and I had more and more oversteer. What made it even more disappointing was that many the guys from the factory had come to watch. I initially thought my retirement from the race was a gearbox problem but we have since learned that it was an engine-related problem caused by high oil temperatures."
"Since the Nürburgring I've been at home in Finland for a holiday, which has been very relaxing. I've seen lots of family and friends and I've even spent an afternoon at Helsinki zoo with my son Max, which we both enjoyed. This weekend we're heading north of Helsinki to my kart track, Mika Salo Circuit. It is staging a round of the CIK-FIA Karting World Championship, which, given that the track was only built last year, is a pretty solid vote of confidence from the karting authorities."
"It's a pretty phenomenal facility, with a hotel and leisure complex, and I hope the event is a big success and helps, in the long run, to promote young Finnish talent. I'll probably do a couple of demonstration laps for the crowd, but I'm not going to do any racing. These young guys are really quick!"
"At the beginning of next week I have two days in Germany, doing some promotional work for Wella (better not have a bad hair day!) before I head off to Silverstone for round 10 of the World Championship. It's not one of my favourite tracks purely because I have done so many kilometres there, both in Formula 3 and F1, that I'm bored of it. Having said that, it's quite a challenging circuit, with an interesting mix of corners and it usually makes for a good race. The weather also plays quite a major part because the direction of the wind on the Hangar Straight can alter set-up a lot and then there's always the chance of rain in England, isn't there?!"
"The last British Grand Prix that I contested was in 2000, when the race was held in April. There was mud everywhere, so I'm glad that it's back to its traditional July date. At least there's no risk of me getting my motorhome stuck!"
"The TF102 shouldn't be too bad around Silverstone, although I don't want to say too much about my expectations because I just don't know how we'll go. At tracks where I thought we wouldn't be any good this year, like Monaco, we ended up being quick. And where I thought we'd be good, like Montreal, we ended up nowhere! At least the car wasn't too bad when we tested at Silverstone last month, despite bad weather conditions resulting in little meaningful running."
"We certainly start the weekend at a disadvantage to the British-based teams, who do a lot of testing at the track, while Panasonic Toyota Racing goes there just twice a year. Still, I'd like to think that we can go for another top 10 position in qualifying and push for a top six finish. It's about time that we got another good result."