F1 »

Salo: Always a little bit of regret, but it was a job I had to do

On the eve of the 2010 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim this weekend, former F1 star Mika Salo looks back at the same race eleven years ago, and his occasional regrets about the 'job he had to do'
Eleven years on from arguably the defining race of his F1 career – yielding his best result, but at the same time denying him what would have been his only triumph – Mika Salo has reflected that he does occasionally regret having surrendered victory to Ferrari team-mate Eddie Irvine in the 1999 German Grand Prix, but it was, he admits, the job he 'had to do'.

Following compatriot Mika Hakkinen's spectacular impact with the barriers due to a high-speed tyre blowout at Hockenheim, Salo inherited the lead in only his second race for the Scuderia, but with Irvine chasing the championship in Michael Schumacher's injury absence, the Finn dutifully moved aside to let the sister scarlet machine through and henceforth shadowed the Ulsterman all the way to the chequered flag. The latter demonstrated his gratitude by handing the Helsinki native his winner's trophy up on the rostrum afterwards.

Salo was rewarded for his loyalty with four further outings for the Prancing Horse that season prior to Schumacher's return – and indeed, he still competes for Ferrari now, albeit in sportscars – but whilst he ascended the podium once again in front of the adoring tifosi in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, he would never reach the top step.

“Of course, there's always a little bit [of regret],” he told Crash.net, with the 2010 German Grand Prix at the Baden-Württemberg circuit now just around the corner this weekend, “but if I hadn't [moved over], I wouldn't be here now working with Ferrari. I've worked on some other projects with them too. It was my job at the time and I had to do it – I just did my job.”

Looking at the situation currently prevailing in the F1 2010 title battle, meanwhile, Salo – now 43 – tends to agree with a number of other observers that his former employer is gradually slipping out of the equation, leaving a two-way duel between pace-setters Red Bull Racing and championship leaders McLaren-Mercedes.

“Red Bull is quick, but McLaren is catching,” he mused of the performance gap. “It's quite interesting – I was expecting a much more boring season after the first race, but it's looking better now so I hope it stays like this. Lots of drivers have a good chance to win, and the new points-scoring system is very good – it gives a little bit of free-play to everybody.”
by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mika Salo.
Luis Perez-Companc (Arg) Matias Russo (Arg) Mika Salo (Fin)  #96 AF Corse SRL  , Ferrari 430 GTC  24 Heures Du Mans Le Mans 24 Hour Le Mans France
Mika Salo
Melo/Kaffer/Salo - Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 [Pic credit: Regis Lefebure]
Jaime Melo (BR), Mika Salo (FIN), Johnny Mowlem (GB) - Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GTC
24 Heures du Mans, La Sarthe, France. 16-17th June 2007. #97 J.Melo (BR), M.Salo (FIN), J.Mowlem (GB). Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GTC.
Mika Salo. Ferrari F399.
Eddie Irvine and new team mate Mika Salo.
Eddie Irvine passes team mate Mika Salo.
Irvine & Salo celebrate a Ferrari 1-2.
22.06.2017 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
22.06.2017 - Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
22.06.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
22.06.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
22.06.2017 - Press conference, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


July 23, 2010 3:48 PM

A true sportsman and very professional to such a level headed view of Hockenheim 1999. It would be easy for him to be bitter and mouth off. It is a pitty Ferrari didn't keep him for 2000. He is probably one of the most underrated F1 drivers I can think of.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.