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Salo signs for Toyota

AS we suggested in June, Mika Salo will be moving to Toyota Motorsport next year. The Finn will spend the 2001 season testing the Japanese company's new Formula 1 challenger and will then return to Formula 1 in 2002 as the Toyota team leader. The deal makes a great deal of sense to Salo who is understood to have been offered a long-term future by Toyota. This will probably include commercial arrangements in the long-term in addition to the position as the lead driver for a manufacturer-backed Grand Prix team.

Salo is under contract for next year to Sauber but the Swiss team has failed to meet the performance clauses in the Finn's contract and has to do so by the end of August.

Salo is expected to be joined at Toyota by a number of staff who worked with him at Tyrrell. Rumors in Hungary suggest that the current Arrows team manager is on the verge of signing for Toyota and may be followed to Cologne by a number of staff who worked with him at Tyrrell and at Honda Racing Developments. Our sources say that Toyota was offered the chance to hire all the major players in HRD in the middle of last year but concluded that it did not need to do so. The attitude has now changed but the old HRD crew has split up with some going to Arrows and some at Benetton.

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