|First race||Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka||November 6, 1994||Race results|
|Last race||Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka||October 13, 2002||Race results|
Like his compatriots JJ Lehto and Mika Hakkinen, Mika Salo was European Formula Ford champion. He caught up with Hakkinen in British Formula Three, and the pair jousted for the 1990 crown, with Hakkinen scraping home. With Formula 3000 teams lining up to sign Salo, he was found guilty of drink-driving and was effectively banished to Japan, where he stayed until 1994, racing in Formula 3000, when he joined the dying Lotus team for the last two races.
He did enough to impress Tyrrell to sign him for the 1995 season and shocked everyone by running third in the opening race. A pair of fifth places in 1995 were repeated in 1996. Talked of as a Ferrari driver in 1997, Mika stayed with Tyrrell, but moved to Arrows for 1998 and was let down by a weak engine. A stand-in for BAR and Ferrari in 1999, he even handed victory at Hockenheim to Ferrari team-mate Eddie Irvine. He scored six points for Sauber in 2000 and headed the Toyota team for 2002. This was seen as a big chance for Mika, but he grew restless as the team stuttered and was not dismayed to be bought out of the second year of his contract, ending the season without improving on the sixth place he scored in the opening round. He raced for Audi at Le Mans in 2003 before becoming a sports car racer in a privately-entered Ferrari.
Reproduced from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One published by Carlton Books