Mika Salo has moved to play down the comments he made following the conclusion of the spy saga that suggested former employers Ferrari routinely spied on arch-rivals McLaren in the past.

Salo was quoted as suggesting in Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat that the Italian team regularly listened and noted down the radio traffic from McLaren, but the former test driver for Ferrari insists it was not necessarily deliberate.

Salo, having initially tested for the team, competed in six races for Ferrari in 1999 in place of an injured Michael Schumacher and claims the low-tech radio devices made listening in almost inevitable. Nonetheless, he wanted to clarify his suggestions.

"What has been published in Ilta-Sanomat does not match the thoughts I wanted to express," the Finn told Reuters.

"I would therefore like to make it clear that I was only referring to Formula One in the late nineties, when radio technology was still at an almost amateurish level, which meant it could happen that some radio conversations could be listened to randomly because of interference."

Salo's comments came following the decision by the FIA not to punish McLaren, despite agreeing that they had come into contact with highly confidential documents from rivals Ferrari earlier this year.

He had said: "We always spied on McLaren, listening to their radio traffic. After every practice session I had in front of me, on paper, all the discussions Mika Hakkinen had had with his engineer."

 

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