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GP Week : Issue 148
GPWEEK: Mika, what are your impressions of this year's Formula One world championship? MIKA SALO: The championship looks very good. Who would have believed after winter testing that Fernando Alonso would be leading the championship by five points after two races? I think this year is going to be a tight one. Did Ferrari deserve the win at Sepang? Their last weekend was great. I was there in Malaysia and I'm so happy for Ferrari that they won. Their car looks bad, it's slow and horrible to drive, but they still managed to win the race. That shows something about the team: they are really good. But they still have a lot of work to do, because the car is far from a winning one. Their second driver currently seems not a winning one as well: should they sack Massa? I don't know. Australia and Malaysia have been disasters for him and it's bad for a driver to have two races like those in a row, especially if they are the first two of the year. Everybody started telling Ferrari they should get rid of him and this increases the huge pressure on him, so in the next races there will be even more chances that he makes a mistake. I think Felipe shouldn't listen to anybody and just concentrate on his job, try to get his old form back. It's a shame, because I like him: I don't know what's going wrong, but he really needs to improve. Luckily, it's not my decision to sack him or not! Anyway, it's good news that the gaps between the teams got so close. Yes. There are a lot of teams who have the chance to win. Everyone is still learning a lot and the long break before China is an important one for many teams who have to improve. Like Mercedes: they are very quick in qualifying, but slow in the race. And McLaren: okay, they won the first race, but the second one was a disaster for them. Red Bull will come back as well, for sure, and Ferrari will improve, too. And I like also the fact that back at the front are Sauber and Lotus, if Kimi gets his qualifying back together. There are so many guys who can fight for a win this year, so I think we will see plenty of good racing. Speaking about Kimi, what do you think about his comeback? He seems to be happy and he's still quick like hell. I think this situation is very good, especially for Finland. I'm doing a lot of Finnish TV and the interest in my country has really improved since his comeback, and probably everywhere else in the world. Formula One needs characters like him: everybody else is like a robot, but he doesn't fit in this scheme. You also had the opportunity to test a modern F1 car in Suzuka lately: what were your impressions? I was surprised that in 10 years they lost some power, but the aerodynamics are much better and corner speeds are much higher now. I remember I used to do some corners in Suzuka flat and now I wasn't even close. It was good fun, I have been asking Domenicali to let me test a modern car for years, but my neck hurt like hell for five days. I got too old for this, my balls are not so big any more! 5 MINUTES WITH MIKA SALO Fabrizio Corgnati talks with the former F1 driver and one-time Schumacher stand-in about Raikkonen, Massa, and testing a 2010 Ferrari F1 car at Suzuka 5 MINUTES 20 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: