Thursday, 23 February: Finland’s Sami Seliö revealed his plans for 2017 at last week’s Helsinki boat show and the clear message from the two-time champion was that a third world title is a realistic target.
The 41-year-old Mad Croc BABA Racing driver heads into 2017 coming off the back of his best season since clinching his second world title in 2010, finishing third overall to Philippe Chiappe and Shaun Torrente.
Despite gifting his rivals a 50 point head start a resurgent Seliö rediscovered his form, picking up two pole positions, a win and three further podiums. “A year ago we had too many early season problems with the new boat. Our problem was to find the right compatibility between boat, engine, propeller and the overall balance of the package,” said Seliö. “In the last five races it came together so the end of the season was a success. We knew what changes should be made and these changes took place and the result was fine.”
Seliö, who splits his time between Playa San Juan in Tenerife and Helsinki, sits third in the all-time rankings of podium successes on 44 behind Guido Cappellini (103) and Scot Gillman (53), the Finn racking up 13 Grand Prix wins, 15 second and 16 third placed finishes, as well as starting from P1 25 times.
Confirmed alongside Seliö and starting his seventh season in the top-flight is the ever-improving 23-year-old Filip Roms from Espoo, also coming off the back of a strong showing in 2016 in which he took his best race finish with second in Evian in France and best qualifying position in P2 behind his teammate in Harbin, China and rounding out his year in sixth in the overall standings.
As well as his F1H2O commitments Seliö supports and invests in young driver talent running a hectic race programme with seven drivers who will compete in F2, F4-S and GT15, GT30 and SJ10 category competitions in Finland. “Young people are the future of our sport and for me it is important to be personally involved at the junior level to help them progress.” said Seliö.
The team is planning a series of test at the end of March early April before heading to the season opener, with Seliö looking to take a third consecutive pole position in Portugal and his first win. “We aim to ensure that this year we are ready from race 1 and the whole team is very motivated. For me a third world title is completely realistic to achieve. There is no other objective we can aim for. I am already anxiously looking forward to the start of the season.” he said.