Mika Häkkinen in Jakarta 2012
28 September 1968 |
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Races||165 (161 starts)|
|Championships||2 (1998, 1999)|
|First race||1991 United States Grand Prix|
|First win||1997 European Grand Prix|
|Last win||2001 United States Grand Prix|
|Last race||2001 Japanese Grand Prix|
Häkkinen debuted in F1 with Lotus in 1991 after a successful career in karting and different junior formula categories. After two years with Lotus, he joined McLaren as a test driver in 1993 initially as a backup for Ayrton Senna, but took over the responsibility of race driver after Michael Andretti was dismissed by the team after that year's Italian Grand Prix. In 1994, he became the lead driver of the team after Senna left to join Williams. Following a life-threatening injury during a practice session for the 1995 Australian Grand Prix and a remarkable comeback to professional racing, Häkkinen and McLaren made considerable improvements in 1996 and 1997 with Hakkinen taking his first victory at the 1997 European Grand Prix. Häkkinen won back to back titles in 1998–99 against the Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine respectively. In 2000, Häkkinen won four races but the title was won by Schumacher. This was followed by two more victories in 2001, and the announcement of a sabbatical the same year that later turned into retirement.
After retiring from Formula One, Häkkinen drove in the DTM series, in which he won three races with Mercedes before announcing his retirement from competitive motorsports in 2007.
Early life 
Mika Häkkinen was born in Helsingin maalaiskunta (now Vantaa), Finland on September 28, 1968 to Harri, a shortwave radio operator and a part-time taxi driver, and Aila Häkkinen, who worked as a secretary. Häkkinen grew up with one sister, Nina, who ran a fan site for her brother until its closure in 1998. As a child, Hakkinen lived in the same street as Mika Salo with the two later becoming friends.
Racing career 
Pre-Formula One (until 1990) 
When Häkkinen was five years old, his parents hired a go-kart for him to take to a track near their home. On his first lap, Häkkinen was involved in an accident but he escaped unhurt. Despite this crash, Häkkinen wished to continue racing and after persistently annoying his parents, the young Finn got his wish fulfilled. His father bought Häkkinen his first go-kart, one that Henri Toivonen had previously competed with.
By 1986, Häkkinen had won five karting championships. 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg had helped Häkkinen by arranging him sponsorship that aided the Finn through the junior categories of open wheel racing. The "New Flying Finn" won three Scandinavian championships and the Opel Lotus Euroseries championship in 1988 before winning the 1990 British Formula Three championship. During the late 1980s he lived in England and shared a house with West Surrey Racing team mate Allan McNish. Häkkinen was close to winning the 1990 Macau Grand Prix but missed out due to a controversial accident with Michael Schumacher, which resulted in his promotion to Formula One with Team Lotus.
Formula One (1991–2001) 
Lotus (1991–1992) 
Häkkinen joined Lotus in 1991. He qualified 13th for his Grand Prix debut at Phoenix, and would also have finished the race in the same position had his car not experienced an engine failure on lap 60. Häkkinen scored his first Grand Prix points two rounds later in Imola, where he finished fifth from 25th on the grid, three laps behind the race winner, Ayrton Senna. Häkkinen finished the season at joint 15th position alongside Satoru Nakajima and Martin Brundle.
Johnny Herbert joined Häkkinen for 1992 season. The Finn continued his form from 1991, with point-scoring finishes in six Grands Prix, his best finishes being fourth places in France and Hungary. Häkkinen finished the season at eighth place in the Drivers' Championship, with almost six times as many points as during the previous season.
McLaren (1993–2001) 
In 1993, Häkkinen joined McLaren as test driver with a view to be promoted to the race team later on. In Monaco he returned to racing with a guest drive in the Porsche Supercup race, an event he dominated. His hopes of stepping up to the race team were realised after Monza, when Michael Andretti left F1 after disappointing results. Häkkinen's McLaren race debut in Portugal was impressive. In his first outing for the team, he outqualified their star driver Ayrton Senna. Unfortunately, when pushing too hard through the final corner of the track during the race, he ran wide onto the dirty side of the kerb, launching the car towards the pit wall. At the time he was running in a point-scoring position. He went on to score a podium finish fifteen seconds behind his triple world champion team-mate during the next weekend at Suzuka, his first career podium.
During 1993, Häkkinen, along with Ayrton Senna, tested the Lamborghini V12 engine in a modified version of the McLaren MP4/8 race car dubbed the "MP4/8B" at both Estoril and Silverstone. Both drivers were impressed with the engine, with Häkkinen reportedly lapping Silverstone some 1.4 seconds faster in the MP4/8B with its V12 engine than he had with the team's race car fitted with the Ford V8.
With Senna departing for Williams for the 1994 season, Häkkinen became the leading driver for McLaren with Martin Brundle as his teammate. McLaren had also switched from the V8 Ford engines to Peugeot V10s (a handshake deal was reportedly done for McLaren to use the Lamborghini V12 the team had tested in 1993, but team boss Ron Dennis decided on Peugeot instead). During the season, Häkkinen took six more podium finishes to add to his sole podium of 1993, including a second place in Belgium. He finished the year at fourth place in the Drivers' Championship with a tally of 26 points.
1995 saw the start of a long relationship between Häkkinen's McLaren team and the German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz. Before the season began, Häkkinen and team-mate Nigel Mansell had complained that the new car had been too small for them to fit in and they suffered from their hands and elbows bashing on the sides of the cockpit.
At Adelaide, he suffered a tyre failure at the early part of the first qualifying session, which resulted in him crashing heavily into the wall. He was critically injured in the crash, sustaining a skull fracture, internal bleeding and swallowing of his tongue which caused a blocking of his airway, and was saved only due to an emergency cricothyroidotomy that was performed by the side of the track by Sid Watkins. This incident forged a strong bond between Häkkinen and team principal Ron Dennis, and also sent forth a new movement for extra safety in the sport. Luckily, Häkkinen recovered fully and was fit to race again in 1996, thus missing only one race. Häkkinen climbed back into a Formula One car at Paul Ricard three months after the accident.
The 1996 season saw McLaren improve; Mercedes-Benz were in their second season of supplying engines to the team and Häkkinen managed to return to the podium, although his first win still eluded him. That season saw David Coulthard join the team from Williams.
Hakkinen finished 4th at Brazil. He scored points at the next four races in Monaco, Spain, Canada and France. At the Spa circuit he nearly registered his first win while using a one stop race strategy, until Jos Verstappen's accident allowed all other cars to pit under the safety car. Based on timing, Häkkinen would have won the race by over 10 seconds without this event. Häkkinen finished fifth in the Drivers' Championship, scoring a total of 31 points. Häkkinen finished the season at 3rd place in Japan.
For 1997 season, Häkkinen was linked to Benetton and Williams. But he decided to continue at Mclaren. McLaren were confident of success in 1997. With the distinctive red and white colours of Marlboro replaced by the silver and black colours of West, the team returned to their winning ways. His teammate David Coulthard took the first win for McLaren in over three seasons at the Australian Grand Prix. Through the year the McLarens began to regularly challenge the frontrunners, but it was Coulthard who finished higher in the championship. Häkkinen came close to an elusive breakthrough victory a number of times in 1997, not least at Silverstone, A1-Ring and Nürburgring. At the seasong ending race in Jerez, Häkkinen finally won his first race, after a crash between frontrunners Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, which caused Schumacher to retire from the race and led to him being disqualified from the Drivers' Championship. Villeneuve was able to finish the race with a damaged car, but his delay from the accident allowed Häkkinen and Coulthard to pass on the last lap for a McLaren double podium.
The 1998 season was the turning point for Häkkinen. The McLaren MP4/13 was the first car designed by aerodynamicist Adrian Newey who had the merit of having designed the best car when he was with the Williams team.
The year began with Häkkinen winning four of the first six rounds. However, Schumacher won the next three races, allowing him to close the gap to Häkkinen in the Drivers' Championship standings. Then Häkkinen won back to back races in Austria and Germany. In Hungary Häkkinen gathered only one point due to problems with the car's gearbox, and in Belgium he had to retire after spinning the car followed by a crash with Johnny Herbert. Meanwhile, Schumacher was able to climb to only seven points behind him at the Drivers' Standings. At Monza, Häkkinen managed a splendid start, but soon after ran into technical problems. At the end, Häkkinen managed fourth while Schumacher took victory. At this point in the season, Häkkinen and Schumacher were tied at the top of the standings at 80 points, with only two races left. At the penultimate race at the Nürburgring, Ferrari managed a front row lockout with Schumacher on the pole and Häkkinen immediately behind the Ferraris. Nevertheless, Häkkinen managed to win the race, securing a 4-point lead in the Drivers' Standings before the season's last race.
Both contenders arrived to the finale at Suzuka with the title still up for grabs. Häkkinen was clearly favored due to the superiority of the Mclaren, though the Ferrari had developed during the course of the Championship. Schumacher took pole at the qualifying, with Häkkinen just beside him. At the warm-up lap however, the clutch of Schumacher's car got stuck and he was forced to start from the back of the grid, elevating Häkkinen to the front of the grid. Schumacher made a good recovery during the race, but was eventually forced to retire. Häkkinen went on to lead the race from start to finish and claim his first World Drivers' Champion title. Overall, Häkkinen managed to win eight races and 13 points placings in 16 races, and claimed the World Championship at 100 points, ahead of Schumacher at 86 points. In addition, Häkkinen started from the pole position nine times out of 16.
The MP4/14, once again designed from the pencil of Newey, which also a competitive car capable of fighting for the world championship, though the car was more fragile than its predecessor. The climb to the World Title was more difficult than in 1998. Despite a more competitive Ferrari, Schumacher finished out of the game in the mid-season because of a serious accident during the Grand Prix at Silverstone. But in spite of this the Finn was able to celebrate the second world title in a row after the last Grand Prix at Suzuka in which he managed to win finishing ahead of Michael Schumacher and Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine.
Häkkinen started the year with a retirement at Melbourne which he backed up with a victory in Brazil but suffered his first retirement at Imola where he suffered a crash. Häkkinen finished third in Monaco before claiming back-to-back wins in Barcelona and in Canada. Häkkinen then came second in France and retired at Silverstone where Schumacher suffered a serious accident. Häkkinen then came third in Austria after a contact at the start with his team-mate Coulthard. The next round at Hockenheim saw another crash where he lost the lead of the world championship to Irvine. Häkkinen won in Budapest and then second at Spa behind team-mate Coulthard. At Monza, Häkkinen spun off and broke down crying in front of the cameras after running away from his car to hide during the race. Häkkinen finished fifth at the Nürburgring and finished third in Malaysia. At the final round in Japan Häkkinen took victory that secured him a second world championship, almost an entire lap ahead of title rival Irvine with Schumacher a close second.
As a double World Champion, he had joined an elite group of drivers. For the 2000 season, he was eager to score a hat-trick of crowns, but after a season-long contest, finished 19 points behind Ferrari's Schumacher. Häkkinen took victory in Spain, Austria where he led every lap of the race and in Hungary to take the lead of the world championship standings. At Spa, he took a memorable victory, with a breathtaking simultaneous pass on Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta in the Kemmel straight. At the next Grand Prix Schumacher took over the Championship lead, and went on to confirm his third world championship at the Japanese Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the season.
In 2001, he took part in what would prove to be his last season of Formula One, before being replaced by his young compatriot and protégé Kimi Räikkönen. The MP4-16 was not as competitive and it was Coulthard who carried the threat to Schumacher for much of the season.
Häkkinen suffered a sizeable crash due to a front suspension failure at the opening race in Australia at Melbourne, while running second. The accident seemed to have hindered his motivation considerably. In Brazil, Häkkinen stalled on the grid which almost forced Olivier Panis to collide with the stalled car. Häkkinen received a $5,000 fine for his actions. In Spain, he was in the lead on the last lap to record his fourth straight Spanish Grand Prix victory but he had a clutch failure and was forced to retire, just five corners away from victory. Häkkinen, stranded, was later fetched by Coulthard in the other McLaren, with Häkkinen sitting at the side of the car, back to the pit. It was a sad but memorable moment, reminding fans of the strong bonds between Coulthard and Häkkinen. At Silverstone he dominated the race to take his first victory of the year. At Monza, Häkkinen announced to the media that he was to take a sabbatical for 2002 deciding on his future in the process. At Indianapolis he won his last grand prix which was followed up with a 4th in Japan.
By mid-2002, Häkkinen decided to take full-time retirement. He cited the reason for spending more time with his family and not to risk any injuries. He also revealed at the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix that he informed Ron Dennis of his decision to retire and was given the opportunity for the sabbatical to go ahead.
DTM (2005–2007) 
During 2004 Häkkinen announced plans for a Grand Prix comeback and held talks with Williams for 2005. A deal was not reached and he made a race comeback in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), with Mercedes-Benz instead. It was a successful season, including one win at Spa.
During 2006 he again competed in the DTM championships with Mercedes. It was a more difficult season having a couple of second places as his best results. Autosport magazine had speculated that Häkkinen's style of driving is not especially suited to a DTM car.
At the 2006 Goodwood Festival Of Speed, Häkkinen drove the 2005 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-20. Many said that it was great once again to see Häkkinen in a McLaren, as he was the last driver (at that time) to win the World Championship in a McLaren.
Häkkinen would stay on at Mercedes for a third season and although this was tainted by some bad luck in places, 2007 was to be his most competitive. Regularly qualifying on the front row, he took two wins at Lausitz and Mugello on his way to 8th position in the championship.
Possible returns to F1 
After Häkkinen's sabbatical year and subsequent retirement, rumours of his return were reported on several occasions. Häkkinen was linked to Williams during the 2004 season because of Montoya going to McLaren-Mercedes the following year.
At the end of the 2006 season there were further rumours regarding Häkkinen returning to the wheel of a McLaren-Mercedes for the 2007 season. Autosport magazine reported that Häkkinen had tested a McLaren simulator twice during November and discussed a possible comeback with the team. On November 24 McLaren announced that Lewis Hamilton would take the team's second seat in 2007, ending the speculation of a possible return to a Formula One drivers seat. However, it was reported that Häkkinen had participated in an advisory role, with Ron Dennis stating that "He's a very interesting person to bring in and evaluate some of the things we are developing." On Thursday, November 30, Häkkinen tested the 2006 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-21 for a full day at the Circuit de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain. He completed 79 laps of the circuit, but his fastest lap was three seconds off the pace of regular race drivers. McLaren said they were using his expertise to see how Formula One had evolved over the years since his retirement.
2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup 
Häkkinen announced his retirement from competitive motorsport on Sunday, 4 November 2007. He was quoted as saying that the decision "was not an easy one," but added that "racing is still in my blood and this decision does not mean that this will prevent me from racing for pleasure."
In November 2008, Häkkinen announced that he will begin a new career in driver management.
Mika Häkkinen's helmet was white with a dark blue stripe, a royal blue stripe and a sky blue stripe in the middle, a blue circle on the top and his name written in the chin area of his helmet. Colours were based on his early sponsor Oy G.W. Sohlberg Ab's brand in 1980's.
Personal life 
Since 1991, Häkkinen has resided in Monte Carlo although he also owns houses in France and Finland. On 18 May 2008, his newly completed mansion in France was burned down after a light in one of his trophy cabinets short circuited. Nobody was injured in the conflagration, but his pet tortoise perished in the fire along with his collection of F1 trophies.
Häkkinen married Erja Honkanen in 1998. The couple have one son, Hugo Ronan (born 11 December 2000) and one daughter, Aina Julia (born 12 May 2005). The couple had applied for divorce in 2008. Häkkinen's third child, daughter Ella, was born on 30 November 2010 to his Czech girlfriend Markéta Remešová.
In February 2010, Häkkinen offered driving lessons at Mercedes-Benz World to raise money for children's charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital. The event was sponsored by myHermes, for which Häkkinen is the brand ambassador.
Häkkinen also featured on BBC Two's TopGear, teaching presenter James May the basics of rally driving in preparation for his first supercar test with the Pagani Zonda.
Häkkinen is known as a "taciturn" character who would give virtually nothing away to the media and would take lengthy pauses before answering questions put before him. Häkkinen has a street named after him in the Australian city of Adelaide in which he suffered a near fatal accident.
|“||Mika Hakkinen was the best opponent in terms of his quality, but the biggest admiration I had for him was we had 100% fight on track but a totally disciplined life off track. We respected each other highly and let each other live quietly.||”|
—Michael Schumacher, stating he felt Häkkinen was the rival whom he got the most satisfaction from racing against.
Racing record 
Career summary 
|1987||Nordic Formula Ford||Reynard||15||9||?||?||?||40||1st|
|1988||GM Vauxhall-Lotus Challenge||Dragon||10||3||4||?||?||127||2nd|
|Cellnet F3 SuperPrix||WSR||1||1||1||?||?||N/A||1st|
|Macau Grand Prix||Dragon||1||0||0||0||0||N/A||NC|
|Macau Grand Prix||1||0||1||0||0||N/A||NC|
|Fuji F3 Race||1||0||0||0||0||N/A||NC|
Complete Formula One results 
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest lap)
Complete DTM results 
* Half points were awarded in the race due to several errors made by the race officials.
- Gagnon, Marie–Julie. "Le fil de Mika". Radio Canada (in French). Retrieved 2006-11-14.
- Allan McNish interview[dead link]
- "McLaren's cockpit cock-up". Grandprix.com. 1995-03-15. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
- Tremayne, David; Mark Hughes (2001). The Concise Encyclopedia of Formula One. Parragon. ISBN 0-7525-6557-5.
- Tremayne, David (1998-05-24). "F1 motor racing: Hakkinen's street car of desire". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
- "Hill captures Brazilian Grand Prix". Lawrence Journal-World. 1 April 1996. p. 6C.
- Tremayne, David (14 October 1996). "Motor Racing: Jubilant Hill reaches the summit". The Independent. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- "Hakkinen to Benetton?". grandprix.com. 17 June 1996. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "Mika Hakkinen". F1 Legends. 24 June 2012. Sky Sports F1.
- "Hakkinen wins in German Grand Prix". BBC News (BBC). 2 August 1998. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Spurgeon, Brad (28 September 1998). "Hakkinen Victorious in Luxembourg Grand Prix". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Zaun, Todd (November 2, 1998). "Hakkinen wins race, Formula One crown". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. D-3.
- "Hall of Shame". F1 Rejects. 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-17.
- "PLUS: AUTO RACING – JAPANESE GRAND PRIX; Hakkinen Reclaims Formula One Title". The New York Times. 1999-11-01. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
- "Hakkinen leads McLaren's 1–2 finish". ESPN. 2000-05-07. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
- "PLUS: AUTO RACING – AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX; Hakkinen Victory Revives Title Bid". The New York Times. 17 July 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Hakkinen Takes F-1 Lead". CBS News (CBS). August 2000. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Hakkinen wins Belgian thriller". BBC Sport (BBC). 2000-08-27. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
- "GRAND PRIX RESULTS: BRAZILIAN GP, 2001". grandprix.com. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "Hakkinen wins at Indianapolis". BBC Sport (BBC). 30 September 2001. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "Coulthard runner-up but points record is a Schu-in". The Guardian. 15 October 2001. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "Hakkinen announces retirement". BBC Sport. 26 July 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- "Hakkinen retires as McLaren remains unchanged". grandprix.com. 26 July 2002. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "BBC Report on Final GP of 1999 Season". BBC News. 1999-11-01. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- "Häkkinen return dismissed". BBC Sport. 2004-05-31. Retrieved 2006-12-14.
- "Who's Who: Lewis Hamilton". F1Fanatic.co.uk. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-09.
- "Hakkinen happy after McLaren test". BBC Sport. 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- "Hakkinen Lands Drink-Drive Role". Grandprix.com. 2006-11-23. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- LE MANS: 29 Entries For Zhuhai SpeedTV.com. John Dagys. Posted October 18, 2011. San Francisco, CA
- "F1 | ITV Sport". Itv-f1.com. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- "Au revoir Mika". Top Gear. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- "Hakkinen moves into driver management". autosport.com. 2008-11-11. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
- "Hakkinen loses his house". grandprix.com. 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- "Heartbreak for Hakkinen". en.f1-live.com. 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
- F1-Live.com. "Hakkinen and wife Erja to divorce". CAPSIS International. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "Tässä on Mika Häkkisen ja Marketan Ella-vauva" (in Finnish). Ilta-Sanomat. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
- "image". Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- Ken Gibson (2010-02-12). "Go for a spin with Hakkinen". The Sun. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
- Benson, Andrew (5 June 2012). "Formula 1's greatest drivers. Number 14: Mika Hakkinen". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 24 November 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mika Häkkinen|
- FlyingFinn.de, Unofficial Fanwebsite (German)
- Mika Häkkinen Statistics
- Mika Häkkinen career details
- McLaren's 50 Greatest Drivers - Mika Häkkinen
|British Formula Three Champion
|Formula One World Champion
1998 – 1999