Toyota's Mika Salo gives his view of the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix. "Wow! What a relentless time of year this is. I jumped off the plane from Malaysia and had just enough time to rush home, say 'Hi' to my wife Noriko and son Max, before ...
Toyota's Mika Salo gives his view of the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix.
"Wow! What a relentless time of year this is. I jumped off the plane from Malaysia and had just enough time to rush home, say 'Hi' to my wife Noriko and son Max, before heading off to Barcelona for testing."
"It's at moments like these that I wish I could stop, put my feet up and relax prior to the next race. But that would be too selfish because everyone at Panasonic Toyota Racing is pushing really hard to build on our solid performances in Australia and Malaysia and they need my input."
"From Barcelona I have a couple of days off before flying to Sao Paulo on Tuesday night for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Like the Malaysian Grand Prix last week, it will be another tough race for the drivers, but for different reasons. There won't be the unbearable heat and humidity of Sepang; instead there will be the pungent and smoggy air of the biggest city in South America filling our helmets."
"Interlagos is a more physical track than Sepang, too, thanks to its anti-clockwise direction and bumpy surface. Imola is the only other circuit on the calendar that runs 'left' and, given that we don't test at either track, I look for some extra ways of strengthening the left side of my neck."
"Some drivers use weighted helmets, but I prefer to place my head inside the inner tube of a tyre and get my trainer to pull hard to the right. It's not the most sophisticated contraption, but I find it works effectively."
"As for the bumps... the surface is, without a doubt, the worst that we race on all year. The organisers claim that it is caused by subsidence, as a result of the track being built on marshland. Well, whatever the reason, it is quite tough on the drivers and can cause car failures as well. It's not my favourite track."
"But, having said that, I think Panasonic Toyota Racing can expect a relatively good result in Brazil because Interlagos will suit the TF102 very well. It's a horsepower circuit, and our engine is good, and you don't have to run maximum downforce, which is an area where we still need to make progress."
"As a team we improving with every race, particularly the way in which people work together. The mechanics spent together the time between Australia and Malaysia, and I noticed a difference in the way that they worked in Sepang - they were more like a team. If we can make similar progress in Brazil, I'll be pleased."
"I'm not naive enough to think that we can get on the podium this year, but everything is going so well at the moment that I feel the sky's the limit!"