Mika Salo: Wikis

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Mika Salo
Mika Salo Le Mans 2009 cropped.jpg
Mika Salo in 2009
Nationality Finland Finnish
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19942000, 2002
Teams Lotus, Tyrrell, Arrows, British American Racing, Ferrari, Sauber, Toyota
Races 111 (109 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 2
Career points 33
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1994 Japanese Grand Prix
Last race 2002 Japanese Grand Prix

Mika Juhani Salo (born November 30, 1966 in Helsinki) is a Finnish racing driver. He competed in Formula One between 1994 and 2002. His best ranking was 10th in the world championship in 1999. He also won the GT2 class in the 2008 and 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Contents

Career

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Formula Three and Japanese racing

In 1989, Salo competed in the British Formula Three Championship, racing for Alan Docking Racing. He raced with the Reynard Toyota package which was not the season's best. Staying with Alan Docking Racing for 1990 and moving to a more competitive Ralt chassis, he raced against countryman and fierce rival Mika Häkkinen in F3, finishing second to him. In 1990, Salo was caught driving under the influence in London.[1] Subsequently the chance of him gaining a FIA Super Licence necessary to compete in Formula One was destroyed in the short-term. He then moved to Japan in an attempt to revive his damaged reputation.

Formula One

1994 – 1998: Lotus, Tyrrell and Arrows

"I think it was six days before the race they said, 'Do you think you can drive it next weekend with no testing'. I'd never driven a Formula One car before in my life; that's what I've always wanted, so I said yes. I know the circuit so I don't think it's a problem. The next two nights I lay in my bed smiling, so happy it was happening."

Salo commenting on his first race for Lotus.[2]

After a few years racing in Japan he made his first F1 start at the penultimate round of the 1994 season in Japan for the ailing Lotus team. He was kept on for the season's finale in Australia. Following the collapse of Lotus following the end of the season, Salo moved to Tyrrell for 1995. He was to spend three years with the team, scoring points several times. In the 1997 Monaco Grand Prix he completed the whole (rain-shortened and -slowed) race without refuelling, taking fifth place ahead of the faster Giancarlo Fisichella as a result[1]. Despite a promising 1998 with Arrows, he had no full-time drive in 1999.

1999: British American Racing and Ferrari

Salo driving for Tyrrell at the 1995 British Grand Prix.
Salo testing for Ferrari at Monza in 1999.

Following an injury to BAR driver Ricardo Zonta, Salo did get a short-term drive with the team for three races whilst the Brazilian recovered. However a greater opportunity arose when Michael Schumacher broke his leg at a crash during the 1999 British Grand Prix. Salo was selected as his substitute to partner Eddie Irvine at Ferrari. In his second race in Ferrari at the 1999 German Grand Prix Salo led for part of the race and would have scored a Grand Prix win but team orders demanded that he give the lead to Irvine, who at the time was fighting for the championship with Mika Häkkinen.[3] Following the race, Irvine handed his victory trophy over to Salo as a gesture to show his gratitude. He also finished third at Monza, ahead of Irvine.

2000 – 2002: Sauber and Toyota

Salo was back full-time in 2000 with Sauber, taking 11th in the championship, although he left the team at the end of the season to join the new Toyota team in preparation for its F1 entry in 2002. He scored two points for Toyota in their first season, becoming the first driver since JJ Lehto at the 1993 South African Grand Prix to score points on a team's debut by finishing sixth at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix. He retired from Formula One at the end of 2002, after surprisingly getting fired from Toyota.

During his Formula One career, he achieved two podiums, and scored a total of 33 championship points.

Post-Formula One

His first post-F1 race came at the 2003 12 Hours of Sebring, driving the UK-entered Audi R8, the same car he was due to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans if it had not ran out of fuel already after the first hour. He raced in four CART races for PK Racing during the same year, his best finish being third in Miami in his second series start.

Because of his strong links with Ferrari he was picked up to be part of the development program of the Maserati MC12 GT racer. He made his FIA GT debut in 2004, narrowly losing the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in a Ferrari 575. After that he entered the last four races of the season in the Maserati, winning two races and finishing second once.[citation needed]

2005 was a year somewhat lost in the doldrums with only two participations with the Maserati MC12 in the ALMS GTS-class, a competition where the car turned out to be not even half as competitive as in the FIA GT series.

For 2006, Salo returned to racing full-time, signing with AF Corse in the FIA GT to drive the Ferrari F430 and later on in the year with Risi Competizione in the ALMS. He was victorious in class in the 24 Hours of Spa and finished 3rd in the FIA GT2 Drivers' Championship with 61 points, while his efforts in the ALMS contributed to Risi's Teams' Championship cup. In the following year he continued with Risi Competizione in the ALMS and took the GT2 class honors in the 12 Hours of Sebring and the championship along with teammate Jaime Melo. They won a total of eight races out of twelve in the class. In addition, he won the RAC Tourist Trophy with Thomas Biagi when substituting for Michael Bartels, driving a Maserati MC12 once more.

Salo and Melo with Risi Competizione earned the first team At-Large honours on the 2007 All-American Racing Team, as voted for by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters (AARWBA).[4] Salo raced again in the ALMS for Risi Competizione in 2008. Although he was not successful in defending his previous year's titles, he won the GT2 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, coming in 18th overall.

In 2009, he joined the Risi Ferrari team at the blue-riband races only, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans event, winning all three of them. Having won these enduro races all more than once, Salo feels he is ready for a new challenge. He has set his mind on NASCAR, having recently had his first test with Michael Waltrip Racing at the half-mile New Smyrna Speedway.[5]

Personal

He currently resides in Monaco with his Japanese wife Noriko Salo (born Endo) and their two children, son Max and daughter Mai. His godson Jesse Krohn competes in Formula Renault, both in Scandinavia and the UK.

Like fellow Finns Keke Rosberg and JJ Lehto, both former F1 drivers, Salo has commentated on several F1 races on MTV3 and the pay-channel MTV3 MAX. During the controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix, he walked out of the commentator's booth in mid-race after the Michelin teams refused to race.

Racing record

Complete Formula One results

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1994 Team Lotus Lotus 109 Mugen Honda V10 BRA
PAC
SMR
MON
ESP
CAN
FRA
GBR
GER
HUN
BEL
ITA
POR
EUR
JPN
10
AUS
Ret
NC 0
1995 Nokia Tyrrell Yamaha Tyrrell 023 Yamaha V10 BRA
7
ARG
Ret
SMR
Ret
ESP
10
MON
Ret
CAN
7
FRA
15
GBR
8
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
8
ITA
5
POR
13
EUR
10
PAC
12
JPN
6
AUS
5
15th 5
1996 Tyrrell Yamaha Tyrrell 024 Yamaha V10 AUS
6
BRA
5
ARG
Ret
EUR
DSQ
SMR
Ret
MON
5
ESP
DSQ
CAN
Ret
FRA
10
GBR
7
GER
9
HUN
Ret
BEL
7
ITA
Ret
POR
11
JPN
Ret
13th 5
1997 Tyrrell Tyrrell 025 Ford V8 AUS
Ret
BRA
13
ARG
8
SMR
9
MON
5
ESP
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
13
BEL
11
ITA
Ret
AUT
Ret
LUX
10
JPN
Ret
EUR
12
17th 2
1998 Danka Zepter Arrows Arrows A19 Arrows V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
Ret
ARG
Ret
SMR
9
ESP
Ret
MON
4
CAN
Ret
FRA
13
GBR
Ret
AUT
Ret
GER
14
HUN
Ret
BEL
DNS
ITA
Ret
LUX
14
JPN
Ret
13th 3
1999 British American Racing BAR 01 Supertec V10 AUS
BRA
SMR
7
MON
Ret
ESP
8
CAN
FRA
GBR
10th 10
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F399 Ferrari V10 AUT
9
GER
2
HUN
12
BEL
7
ITA
3
EUR
Ret
MAL
JPN
2000 Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber C19 Petronas V10 AUS
DSQ
BRA
DNS
SMR
6
GBR
8
ESP
7
EUR
Ret
MON
5
CAN
Ret
FRA
10
AUT
6
GER
5
HUN
10
BEL
9
ITA
7
USA
Ret
JPN
10
MAL
8
11th 6
2002 Panasonic Toyota Racing Toyota TF102 Toyota V10 AUS
6
MAL
12
BRA
6
SMR
Ret
ESP
9
AUT
8
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
EUR
Ret
GBR
Ret
FRA
Ret
GER
9
HUN
15
BEL
7
ITA
11
USA
14
JPN
8
17th 2

Complete CART results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest race lap)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Rank Points
2003 PK Racing STP MTY LBH BRH LAU MIL LS POR CLE TOR VAN ROA MDO MTL DEN
14
MIA
3
MXC
5
SRF
11
FON
NH
16th 26

References


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