May 1 (GMM) Mika Salo has gone some way to confirming reports FIA stewards are being lenient on F1 drivers’ on-track behaviour in 2013.
We reported recently that, in a secret winter meeting, it was agreed that stewards would impose less penalties this year in a bid to encourage more wheel-to-wheel racing.
The ex-driver representative on the stewards panel in Bahrain last time out was former Sauber and Ferrari driver Salo.
The Finn told MTV3 broadcaster: “We saw really good racing in Bahrain.
“I encourage just this kind of hard fighting, which should not be punished.
“(Jenson) Button was angry when (Sergio) Perez hit him, and yes, of course, it could have spoiled both their races.
“But while Perez drove pretty aggressively, it was good racing,” added Salo.
Also going unpunished was Fernando Alonso, despite the fact his overtaking-aid ‘DRS’ rear wing flap was stuck open.
Usually, illegal deployment of DRS would attract a penalty, but Salo said: “It was a technical problem, so we had nothing to investigate.
“We were not asked to, and none of the other teams said anything about it. Actually, while he (Alonso) had a great chance to win, the fault spoiled his race.”
Salo also commented on the form of his countryman Kimi Raikkonen, who is in a strong position in the world championship, with his Lotus making good use of Pirelli’s heavily-degrading tyres.
“Kimi stopped one time less than the others, but I think the other teams will not take long to also learn to use the tyres.
“I doubt Lotus will have this advantage for too long,” he added.