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Salo and BAR

BRITISH AMERICAN RACING and Sporting Elite, the company which manages Mika Salo, are in legal action over the Finn's release from a BAR contract last year which enabled him to drive for Ferrari. Salo began the 1999 season without a regular drive but after the Brazilian Grand Prix, where BAR driver Ricardo Zonta suffered leg injuries when the suspension of his car failed, Salo was asked to drive for the team and raced in Imola, Monaco and Spain. The Finn recorded the first two BAR finishes: seventh in Imola and eighth in Spain.

Salo stood down when Zonta returned to action in Canada but in July he was approached by Ferrari to stand in for the injured Michael Schumacher. In order to be released from his BAR contract we hear that Salo had to agree to repay all he had earned from BAR. The current dispute is believed to center around this money. BAR is claiming that it is owed $540,000 by Sporting Elite, the company which is run by former journalist Mike Greasley.

The legal action is an indication that money is much more of an issue this year than it was with BAR in 1999 when millions were spent with no reward. The fact that BAR is willing to face the bad publicity generated by trying to take everything from the man who did most in terms of results for them last year is an indication of how things have changed.

Sporting Elite is expected to defend the case which will resume in two weeks.

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