Toyota confirm Salo appointment

After having their thunder stolen by Sauber on Wednesday night, Toyota have confirmed that Mika Salo will join the team at the end of the season to help prepare the Japanese marque for their Formula One bow in 2002.

Swiss team Sauber announced that Finn Salo would be leaving at the end of the current season, 24-hours before a scheduled Toyota press conference in Spa on Thursday.

Toyota consequently announced that Salo will join current American Le Mans Series driver Allan McNish to help the team's development and testing program ahead of their planned introduction into Formula One in 2002.

Sauber driver Salo said: "My decision to test instead of race next year was not taken lightly, but having seen how much effort is going into the Toyota project, I am happy to take this step in the knowledge that my F1 experience will contribute significantly to the development of the team.

"There can be no illusions, we have a very steep hill to climb. There will be heartache and disappointment, but I welcome the challenge of helping in the birth of a new F1 team."

Ove Andersson, Toyota team president, added: "I am extremely proud to represent Toyota in Formula One - the very peak of motorsports competition. Together we have built a reputation for high quality engineering and racing success and those same standards will apply in Formula One.

"We are very aware that as the new boys in F1 and the only German based team we will be watched very closely by the world's media. In addition, as the largest Japanese automobile manufacturer and the third biggest in the world, we will never be far from the headlines."

Toyota did not release any technical details about their new car, but did confirm the entire car will be built in-house and development will be helped by a new 30,000 square-mile wind tunnel near their Cologne base.

Toyota also said that several sponsorship deals have been secured and although a branding has not yet been designed for the car, it is sure to represent the Toyota corporate colors of red and white.

Follow grandprixdotcom on Twitter

Print News Story