It’s fair to say that Pyry Salmela is the most well-known Formula 1 trainer on the grid currently and it’s not without a reason. Pyry used to be an athlete before joining the world of Formula 1, and he studied his profession through some university courses as well. He truly has an interesting story to tell, so stay tuned and enjoy this interview.
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What does sport mean to you?
Well, it’s a brilliant question. Basically, I grew into sports and for me it was the way to express myself. Sport can show your energy and show your human movements. You can express yourself by singing or dancing, but for me, doing sports is the best way to do it. Sports activities make me happy and I can release energy – I just love it. When I was a child, I did a lot of sports activities. I did weightlifting; I played football, and I did a bit of motocross as well. However, the main one was ice hockey—I’ve played it for 20 years.
When did you fall in love with motorsports?
To be honest, it’s never been my intention to work in F1—so it’s not something that I was always dreaming about but I’m very lucky to be here. The human performance side of things has always impressed me—and it’s there in motorsport, in football, in ice hockey or in the business world as well. The biggest driving factor of my career has always been around finding an answer to the question ‘How can I get the most out of you?’. When you work in a new environment, such as Formula 1, you address the sport-specific questions, like why someone is faster than the other. When you’re looking for the answers, you’ll find out the sport-specific needs, which is essential to create the right way of working to become successful. We have completely different dynamics compared to traditional sports—we have a marketing team, we have lots of engineers and mechanics and then we have a performance staff and the driver. It’s a unique environment, and it makes it just more exciting for me. It’s like a gigantic puzzle and several components need to work well to get the job done.
How did you end up working in Formula 1?
I used to work for a sports institute in Finland and I got in touch with Aki Hintsa through a friend of mine—who actually works with Valtteri Bottas. Aki was looking for new people to join his team and I was told that they were interested in me. Initially, I had no clue about the story, because the job description didn’t…