Mika Häkkinen

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Mika Häkkinen
Mika Hakkinen face 2012.jpg
Mika Häkkinen in Jakarta 2012
Born Mika Pauli Häkkinen
(1968-09-28) 28 September 1968 (age 46)
Vantaa, Finland
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality  Finnish
Active years 19912001
Teams Lotus, McLaren
Races 165 (161 starts)
Championships 2 (1998, 1999)
Wins 20
Podiums 51
Career points 420
Pole positions 26
Fastest laps 25
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

Mika Pauli Häkkinen (About this sound pronunciation ) (born 28 September 1968) is a retired Finnish racing driver. He was the 1998 and 1999 Formula One World Champion, driving for McLaren and has been ranked among the greatest Formula One drivers in various motorsport polls.[1][2] Häkkinen currently works in driver management and is a brand ambassador for various companies.

Häkkinen began his career in karting at the age of five and achieved success by winning regional and national kart championships. He progressed to car racing when he entered the Formula Ford and Formula Three series in Italy and the United Kingdom. After success in the series, Häkkinen entered Formula One in 1991 with the Team Lotus where he remained until 1992. The following year, he moved to McLaren as test driver before he was promoted to the race team following the departure of Michael Andretti.

After four years which yielded minor success for Häkkinen, he clinched his first Formula One victory in 1997. He went on to win eight races of the 1998 season. securing the World Drivers' Championship at the season ending Japanese Grand Prix; his success also helped McLaren secure the World Constructors' Championship. Häkkinen repeated his World Championship success in 1999, taking five victories. He finished the runner-up in the Drivers' Championship in 2000, behind Michael Schumacher and secured two more victories in 2001 before announcing a sabbatical from the sport, which became full-time retirement in mid-2002.

For 2005, he moved to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series, where he secured his first victory that year. Häkkinen's form faded during 2006 although he secured two more victories in 2007. Häkkinen retired from top level active motorsport at the end of 2007 and has also competed in sports car racing with Mercedes-Benz. He also subsequently moved into driver management along with becoming a brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker and Mercedes-Benz AMG.

Early life and career[edit]

A Ralt RT34 driven by Häkkinen in the 1990 Macau Grand Prix

Häkkinen was born in Helsingin maalaiskunta (now Vantaa), Finland on 28 September 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.[3] As a child, Häkkinen lived in the same street as Mika Salo with the two later becoming friends.[4] As a child, Häkkinen played ice hockey and football.[5]

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.[6] He later won his first karting race in 1975 at the Keimola Motor Stadium where he raced in the regional karting championships in 1978 and 1979, clinching the Keimola Club Championship in both years. Häkkinen found further success in 1980 when he clinched the Swedish Lapland Cup and finished fourth in the 85cc class of the Lapland Karting Championship. Around this time, Häkkinen also drove a Volkswagen Beetle on the frozen lakes of Finland with friend Mika Sohlberg.[7]

In 1981, Häkkinen driving for the Blue Rose karting team won his first major karting title, the 85cc class of the Finnish Karting Championship. The following year, he finished the runner-up in the 85cc class of the Formula Mini series and later won the Ronnie Peterson Memorial event and the Salpauselka Cup in Lahti. Häkkinen moved to the Formula Nordic 100cc class for 1983, where he clinched the championship on his first attempt and also participated in the A Junior Team Races for Finland alongside Taru Rinne, Jaane Nyman and Marko Mankonen, with the line-up taking the championship.[8]

For 1984, Häkkinen clinched the 100cc Formula Nordic title and later participated in the World Kart Championship race held in Liedolsheim. Häkkinen took his second consecutive 100cc Formula Nordic Championship in 1985 ahead of Jukka Savolainen. He later took part in the Nordic Championship A-Class in that same year, finishing runner-up to Tom Kristensen. Häkkinen went to Parma to participate in the World Kart Championship where he retired before the event's final heat due to a mechanical problem. In 1986, he clinched his third consecutive Formula Nordic 100cc title and also took part in karting events across Europe.[8] To further fund his career, Häkkinen got a job with a friend repairing bicycles.[9]

In 1987, Häkkinen made the transition from karting to car racing when he purchased an 1986 Reynard Formula Ford 1600 from fellow countryman JJ Lehto. In that year, he entered the Finnish, Swedish and Nordic Formula Ford Championships, winning each title on his first attempt and won nine races combined. Häkkinen also entered two races of the EDFA 1600 Championship and raced in the Formula Ford Festival held at Brands Hatch, where he finished in seventh position.[10] In 1988, Häkkinen entered the EFDA Formula GM Lotus Euroseries with the Dragon team, where he secured four victories and finished the runner-up in the championship, behind Allan McNish. He later entered the Opel-Lotus EDFA Euroseries, taking four victories and clinched the championship with 126 points, ahead of nearest rival Henrik Larsen.[10]

Going into 1989, Häkkinen moved from the Euroseries into the British Formula Three Championship driving a Reynard 893 chassis for Dragon. He only managed to secure seventh position in the championship, scoring 18 points. He was later invited to participate in the Cellnet Formula Three SuperPrix for West Surrey Racing as a guest driver where he secured pole position and clinched victory.[11] For 1990, Häkkinen left Dragon and moved to the West Surrey Racing team and won the British Formula Three series, by taking nine victories en route to the Championship, with 121 points, ahead of fellow countryman Salo. Later that year, Häkkinen entered the Macau Grand Prix where he clinched pole position and won the first heat of the event. He retired from the second heat due to a last-lap collision with German Formula Three driver Michael Schumacher, who was classified as the overall winner.[10]

Formula One career[edit]

Team Lotus (1991–1992)[edit]

Main article: Team Lotus

1991[edit]

Häkkinen driving for Lotus at the 1991 United States Grand Prix

Häkkinen made his first test in a Formula One car with the Benetton team driving 90 laps around the Silverstone Circuit. He later decied to sign with the Lotus team for the 1991 season.[10] Making his début in the United States alongside team-mate Julian Bailey, Häkkinen qualified thirteenth on the grid and suffered an engine failure on the sixtieth lap and was classified thirteenth. The next race at Brazil saw him finish ninth, and clinched his first Formula One points scoring positions with fifth place in San Marino.[12] Häkkinen suffered from a dip in race form as he was encountered consecutive retirements in the next two races—his car suffered from an oil leak in Monaco and spun out in Canada.[13][14] Before Canada, Bailey lost his seat at Lotus due to a lack of funding,[15] so Häkkinen was partnered by Johnny Herbert and Michael Bartels throughout the remainder of the season.[16]

Although Häkkinen secured a ninth place finish in Mexico, he did not qualify for the French Grand Prix. Over the remainder of the season, he did not finish four of the nine races he entered.[12] Häkkinen finished his début season sixteenth in the Drivers' Championship, scoring two points.[17]

1992[edit]

Häkkinen remained at Lotus for 1992 and was partnered by Herbert.[18] At the opening round of the season in South Africa, Häkkinen finished in ninth position, which he followed up with his first points of the season in Mexico. He managed to take a further finish in Brazil, although he did not qualify for the San Marino Grand Prix and suffered consecutive retirements in the following two races.[19] At Monaco, Lotus introduced their new car, the Lotus 107. Häkkinen later managed to clinch further consecutive points in the following two races,[19] before he was forced into retirement at the German Grand Prix due to an engine failure.[20] A similar pattern followed in the next three races which was broken when he finished fifth in Portugal and suffered a retirement at the penultimate round of the year in Japan. Häkkinen concluded the season with a seventh place finish in Australia.[19]

During the season, Häkkinen became embroiled in an contract dispute. Häkkinen, who was under contract to Lotus, opted to join Williams. However, Williams had not submitted their entry for the 1993 season, and Häkkinen was unable to join the team when he learnt that Lotus team prinicpal Peter Collins would veto the Williams team entry if they had signed Häkkinen.[21] Häkkinen later approached Ligier although his contract contained a clause of which his manager Keke Rosberg disagreed with. He later approached McLaren team principal Ron Dennis for a contract with the team, which was drafted at Courchevel Airport. The dispute eventually went to Formula One Contract Recognition Board, who ruled in favour of McLaren after two days of delibration.[21]

McLaren (1993–2001)[edit]

Main article: McLaren

1993[edit]

For 1993, Häkkinen joined McLaren, originally as an race driver, although he became the team's official test driver when CART World Series driver Michael Andretti was hired by the team.[21] Apart from regular testing duties, Häkkinen entered two Porsche Supercup races, held as an support race for the Monaco Grand Prix, where he clinched pole position and took victory in both races. He was promoted to a Formula One race seat after the Italian Grand Prix, when Andretti left Formula One. Häkkinen entered the Portuguese Grand Prix where he out-qualified regular driver Ayrton Senna. During the race, he retired due from a collision with a concrete wall.[22] At the next race held in Japan, Häkkinen claimed the first podium of his career with a third place finish,[23] and ended the season when his McLaren car suffered an brake pipe failure in Australia.[24] Häkkinen concluded the season with 15th in the Drivers' Championship, scoring 4 points.[25] In December, McLaren confirmed that Häkkinen would remain with the team on a three-year contract from the 1994 season onwards.[26]

During 1993, Häkkinen, along with 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.[27]

1994[edit]

Häkkinen driving for McLaren at the 1994 British Grand Prix

Häkkinen stayed at McLaren for 1994 and was partnered by experienced driver Martin Brundle. He endured a torrid start: At the first two races of the season, Häkkinen retired as his car developed engine problems in the Brazilian Grand Prix and gearbox issues in the Pacific Grand Prix which included a collision with Senna on the first lap.[28][29] He later managed to clinch his first podium finish of the season at the San Marino Grand Prix, although he suffered a dip in form as he was forced into consecutive retirements in the next four races.[30]

Häkkinen clinched a further podium finish at the British Grand Prix, despite an last-lap collision with Jordan driver Rubens Barrichello for which he received a one-race ban, suspended for three races.[10] The ban was enforced after the German Grand Prix, where Häkkinen collided with Williams driver David Coulthard with the Finn's car sliding into another group of cars. He was replaced by Philippe Alliot for the next race in Hungary.[31]

Häkkinen returned for the Belgian Grand Prix, initially coming third but was later promoted to second after the disqualification of Benetton driver Michael Schumacher.[32] He managed to clinch consecutive 3rd-place podium finishes in the next three races, before rounding off the season by finishing the final two races in Japan and Australia, abeit outside of the points scoring positions.[30] Häkkinen managed to clinch fourth place in the Drivers' Championship, scoring 26 points.[33]

1995[edit]

Häkkinen driving for McLaren at the 1995 British Grand Prix

Häkkinen remained at McLaren for 1995, and was partnered by Nigel Mansell. During pre-season testing, Häkkinen and team-mate Mansell complained the car, the McLaren MP4/10, was not wide enough to fit in, resulting in their hands and elbows striking the sides of the cockpit.[34] Mansell was forced to miss the opening two rounds, so Häkkinen was partnered with Mark Blundell.[35]

Häkkinen started off the season by clinching fourth place at Brazil,[36] and later retired in Argentina due to a collision which punctured his left rear tyre that followed a spin. He managed to take a further points finish with a 5th place at San Marino, before suffering from consecutive retirements in the next three races.[37] For the French Grand Prix, McLaren introduced a revised version of their car, the McLaren MP4/10B. This did not revive Häkkinen's fortunes as he did not finish in the points scoring positions, and later suffered consecutive retirements in the next four races,[37] but managed to clinch second place at the Italian Grand Prix.[38] He was forced to miss the Pacific Grand Prix due to an operation for appendicitis and was replaced by Jan Magnussen.[39] He returned for the Japanese Grand Prix, clinching second place.[40]

At the season finale held in Australia, Häkkinen's car suffered a tyre failure during the event's first qualifying session, which resulted him crashing heavily in the wall. He was critically injured in the accident, sustaining a skull fracture, internal bleeding and swallowed his tongue, causing a blockage of his airway. His life was saved by the efforts of FIA Medical Delegate Sid Watkins who performed an emergency cricothyroidotomy at the side of the track.[41] Häkkinen finished the season seventh in the Drivers' Championship, with 17 points.[42]

1996[edit]

The 1996 season was the first in which Häkkinen was the more experienced driver in his team and was partnered by David Coulthard. Häkkinen was confident going into the season and set himself a target of winning races.[43] To ensure his fitness, Häkkinen spent time training in Bali and in February, McLaren conducted a secret test at the Paul Ricard Circuit. In the event that Häkkinen was not prepared, McLaren had Magnussen to replace him should the need arise.[44] The season started well for Häkkinen: He clinched consecutive points scoring positions in the opening two rounds, before he suffered his first retirement of the season in Argentina as his car developed an throttle problem.[45] He later managed to finish the next two races, abeit outside of the points scoring positions, before clinching consecutive finishes inside of the points in the following four races.[46]

In the following race held in Britain where McLaren brought a revised version of the car, their McLaren MP4/11B, Häkkinen clinched his first podium finish of the season with third place.[47] However, he retired from the next race held in Germany due to a gearbox failure.[48] This marked a turning point in Häkkinen's season as he managed to finish the next three races, including consecutive third place finishes in Belgium and Italy.[46] In September, it was announced that Häkkinen would remain at McLaren for 1997,[49] having previously been linked to Williams and Benetton.[50] He retired from the penultimate round in Portugal resulting a collision with team-mate Coulthard, damaging Häkkinen's front wing and eventually led to his retirement on the 52nd lap of the race.[51] He rounded off the season with a third place finish in season finale held in Japan.[52] Häkkinen finished the season fifth in the Drivers' Championship, scoring 31 points.[53]

1997[edit]

The McLaren MP4/12, driven by Häkkinen in 1997

Häkkinen again remained at McLaren for 1997 and Coulthard remained his team-mate. Häkkinen's season got off to a good start: In the season opening race in Australia, he clinched third position and later managed to score further consecutive finishes inside of the points scoring positions in the next three races.[54] He suffered his first retirement of the season at the Monaco Grand Prix when he was involved in a collision with Benetton driver Jean Alesi.[55] Häkkinen later managed to take ninth position at the Spanish Grand Prix,[54] but later suffered three consecutive retirements in the next three races—a collision with Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine in Canada and engine failures in France and Britain. At the latter race, he had seemed set for his first win, but his engine blew while he was holding off eventual winner Jacques Villeneuve.[56]

Häkkinen managed to secure another podium finish with second place in Germany and later retired from an hydraulic problem in Hungary. He later secured third place in the Belgian Grand Prix but was later disqualified when it was discovered that his car used an illegal type of fuel during the event.[57] He secured a ninth place finish in Italy and later suffered from consecutive retirements in the next two races—engine failures in the Austrian Grand Prix and the Luxembourg Grand Prix while leading both races.[58] Häkkinen ended the season with a fourth position in the penultimate round in Japan and clinched his first Formula One victory at the season closing European Grand Prix.[54] Häkkinen ended the season sixth in the Drivers' Championship, with 27 points.[59]

1998[edit]

Häkkinen driving for McLaren at the 1998 Spanish Grand Prix

Häkkinen remained at McLaren for 1998, partnered by Coulthard. Häkkinen was confident going about the challenge for the World Championship into the season, citing the involvement of technical director Adrian Newey.[60] The season started off with controversy in Australia when team-mate Coulthard let Häkkinen past to win the race. Häkkinen had earlier been called into the pit lane by an engineer by mistake. Coulthard later revealed an pre-race agreement by the team that whoever led into the first corner on the first lap would be allowed to win the race.[61] Despite this, Häkkinen managed to take back-to-back victories by winning the next race in Brazil.[62] He managed to maintain his good form at the Argentine Grand Prix where he finished second, although he retired from the San Marino Grand Prix when his car's gearbox failed. However, Häkkinen managed to clinch consecutive victories in the next two rounds, which was followed by a retirement from the race in Canada as his car suffered another gearbox failure.[63]

Häkkinen followed this up by taking consecutive podiums in the next two rounds—third in France and second in Britain. He managed to clinch further consecutive victories in the next two rounds, and followed this up with a sixth place finish in Hungary.[64] In August, it was announced that Häkkinen and Coulthard would be retained for 1999.[65] Häkkinen retired from the following race held in Belgium when Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher collided with the Finn and was also hit by Sauber driver Johnny Herbert.[66] He later managed to clinch fourth position in Italy despite suffering from brake problems resulting from a spin.[67] Häkkinen finished the season by taking victory in the final two rounds at the Luxembourg Grand Prix and the Japanese Grand Prix, which ensured he took enough points to clinch the 1998 World Championship, with 100 points, ahead of nearest rival Schumacher.[68] Häkkinen was awarded the Autosport International Racing Driver Award for 1998.[69] He was also named the Finnish Sports Personality of the Year by journalists.[70] The Finnish Post Office issued stamps to commeorate Häkkinen's World Championship in January 1999.[71]

1999[edit]

Häkkinen driving for McLaren at the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix, where he clinched his third victory of the season

Häkkinen remained at McLaren for 1999, with Coulthard partnering him for the upcoming sesaon. The team suffered problems with their car, the McLaren MP4/14, during pre-season testing, resulting in a lack of preparation. Despite these setbacks, Häkkinen was confident going into the season, saying: "I've gained confidence and experience and am more relaxed. With this title I no longer have to tell myself every morning I can win, to put pressure on myself."[72]

At the opening round in Australia, Häkkinen was forced into retirement as his car developed an throttle issue.[72] However, he managed to clinch his first victory of the season in Brazil, despite his car developing a gearbox problem early in the race.[73] Häkkinen retired from the race in San Marino when he collided with an barrier while leading.[74] At the Monaco Grand Prix, Häkkinen managed to clinch third place, having slid on oil left on the track surface in the race. He followed up the results by clinching consecutive victories in the races held in Spain and Canada. Häkkinen took a second place finish in France, and was forced into another retirement in Britain, as a result of a wheel failure.[72] During the Austrian Grand Prix, Häkkinen who started from pole position, was hit by Coulthard from behind and rejoined at the back of the field. Häkkinen eventually finished in 3rd place.[75]

During the German Grand Prix, it was announced that Häkkinen would remain at McLaren for 2000.[76] Häkkinen encountered further bad fortunes in the race when his car's right rear tyre exploded at high speed, forcing his car into a 360° spin before resting on a tyre wall.[77] He managed to clinch his fourth victory of the year at Hungary,[78] and followed up the result with a second place in Belgium.[79] Häkkinen retired from the following race held in Italy, due to a spin while leading the race.[80] He managed to clinch further finishes with fifth place at the European Grand Prix, and achieved a podium finish with third place in Malaysia. At the season finale held in Japan, Häkkinen took victory,[81] which ensured he took enough points to clinch the 1999 World Championship, with 76 points, ahead of nearest rival Eddie Irvine.[82] In November, Häkkinen was ranked seventh in the Reuters Sports Personality of the Year Poll scoring 46 out of a possible 260 points.[83] He was also awarded his second consecutive Autosport International Racing Driver Award for 1999.[84] In November, Häkkinen was announced as one of the seven men shortlisted for the Finnish Sports Personality of the Year.[85] At the awards ceremony on 28 December, Häkkinen was awarded second place behind skier Mika Myllylä.[86]

2000[edit]

Häkkinen driving for McLaren at the 2000 United States Grand Prix

For 2000, Häkkinen set himself new limits along with physical and psychological preparations for the upcoming season. He also believed that he along with Schumacher and Coulthard would be the key drivers of 2000.[87] He endured a bad start: At the opening round in Australia, both McLaren cars retired with engine failure after completing less than half of the race distance; and in the following race in Brazil, Häkkinen was forced into retirement when his car's oil pressure became problematic.[88] However, this marked a turning point as Häkkinen took consecutive second place finishes in the next two rounds, and later clinched his first victory of the season in Spain.[89]

Häkkinen finished in second position at the European Grand Prix, having traded the lead position with Schumacher throughout the race.[90] He followed up the result by taking sixth place at Monaco, fourth in Canada and a podium finish with second position in France.[91] The day after the French Grand Prix, it was announced that Häkkinen would remain at McLaren for 2001.[92] Häkkinen won the following race held in Austria, although his team were stripped of constructors' points due to missing seal on the electronic control unit in Häkkinen's car.[93] He took another podium finish with a second place in Germany, and later clinched another victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix where he took the lead of the World Drivers' Championship from Schumacher.[94] Häkkinen clinched his second consecutive victory in Belgium, which included a simultaneous pass on Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta in the Kemmel straight.[95] Häkkinen later took second place in Italy,[96] and retired with an engine failure in the United States.[97] He rounded off the year with a second place in Japan where he conceded the World Championship to Schumacher,[98] and clinched fourth position in the season closing race held in Malaysia.[99]

2001[edit]

Häkkinen driving for McLaren at the 2001 Canadian Grand Prix, where he clinched his first podium finish of 2001

For 2001, Häkkinen pledged to make a challenge for the World Championship, citing inspiration from the birth of his son Hugo.[100] He also added that he was under less pressure to compete, saying that results over the previous year increased his desire to win.[101] The season started badly for Häkkinen: He was forced into retirement in the opening round held in Australia due to an failure with his car's suspension resulting in his car spinning violently into a tyre barrier.[102] The McLaren cars were off the pace in Malaysia, with Häkkinen managing to clinch 6th place.[103] He retired from the following race in Brazil when his car stalled on the starting grid,[104] and clinched further points at the San Marino Grand Prix.[105] At the Spanish Grand Prix, Häkkinen looked on course to clinch his first victory of the season, until the final lap of the race, when his car was hampered with a clutch failure and was classified ninth.[106]

He suffered further consecutive retirements in Austria where he stalled his car on the starting grid,[107] and Monaco where his car's steering failed after fifteeen laps of the race.[108] At the following race held in Canada, Häkkinen took his first podium of the season with a third place finish.[109] He clinched sixth place at the European Grand Prix, and was unable to start the French Grand Prix as his car developed a gearbox problem.[110] However, this marked a brief turning point for Häkkinen as he managed to clinch victory in the British Grand Prix.[111] He was forced into another retirement in Germany when his engine failed,[112] later managing to clinch fifth position in Hungary and fourth place in Belgium.[113]

Before the Italian Grand Prix, Häkkinen announced that he would be taking a sabbatical, citing the reason to spend more time with his family.[114] He was forced into another retirement during the race due to a gearbox issue. He managed to clinch the final victory of his career in the United States despite incurring a grid penalty,[115] and ended the season with a fourth place finish in Japan.[116] Häkkinen finished the season 5th in the Drivers' Championship, with 37 points.[117]

Post-Formula One (2002–2004)[edit]

In July 2002, Häkkinen announced that he would be retiring from Formula One after nine months into his sabbatical. It was later revealed that Häkkinen approached McLaren team principal Ron Dennis during the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix about his future plans and suggested returning the following year where Häkkinen decided on full-time retirement.[118] In October, Häkkinen made his first appearance as an commenator for pay-for-view channel Canal Digital at the United States Grand Prix.[119]

In December 2002, it was announced that Häkkinen would be participating in the Finnish Rally Championship driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution WRC2 with his co-driver Arto Kapanen.[120] He also stated that he would not move full-time into rallying and learn about driver control,[121] although he later stated he would enter more rally events if he finished within the top two.[122] Making his début in the Arctic Rally, Häkkinen was delayed by four minutes as his team changed a tyre and eventually finished 30th.[123] He once again entered the event in 2004 driving an Toyota Corolla with co-driver Risto Pietiläinen and finished seventh.[124][125]

During 2004, rumors circulated that Häkkinen was making a possible return to Formula One to fill in the vacant Williams seat left by Juan Pablo Montoya. In May, McLaren team principal Ron Dennis dismissed the rumors, stating that Häkkinen was not prepared for a comeback.[126] Häkkinen held talks with BAR and Williams and later decided against returning to Formula One saying: "It's impossible to think that I would race a Formula One car again because as time passes my reactions become slower and my eye sight gets worse - that's life."[127]

Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters[edit]

2005[edit]

On 6 November 2004, it was announced that Häkkinen would make his début in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series for the HWA Team in the 2005 season.[128] He was partnered by Gary Paffett, Jean Alesi and Bernd Schneidler. Häkkinen had previous experience of driving touring cars in July 2001 at the Brno Circuit alongside Schneider.[129] In January, Häkkinen once again participated in the Arctic Rally driving a Toyota Corolla with co-driver Risto Pietiläinen. Häkkinen retired when he slid off the road on the eleventh stage.[130]

His début season started well: He secured eighth position in his first race at the Hockenheimring; and in the following race at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, he clinched his first podium in his DTM career. Two weeks later at Spa-Francorchamps, Häkkinen qualified on pole position and later took his first DTM win after only three starts.[131] Despite the early success, he did not score points in the next three races which included consecutive retirements at Oschersleben and the Norisring. He later clinched a further points scoring position at the race held at the Nürburgring, before he clinched consecutive 12th-place finishes in the next two races. Häkkinen ended the 2005 season by taking a second place finish at Istanbul Park and finished outside of the points scoring positions with 15th place at Hockenheim. Häkkinen finished the season fifth in the Drivers' Championship, with 30 points.[11]

2006[edit]

Häkkinen driving for HWA at Brands Hatch in 2006

On 15 November 2005, it was announced that Häkkinen would remain with HWA for the 2006 season,[132] and was partnered by Alesi, Spengler and Jamie Green. For the upcoming season, Häkkinen set his target of winning the championship, although he believed the competition from Audi would make the title challenge difficult.[133] Outside of DTM, Häkkinen participated in his fourth Arctic Rally, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII with co-driver Risto Pietiläinen.[134] He finished 36th overall.[135]

His season got off well: At the opening race held at Hockenheim, he finished in fourth position; and in the following race held at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, he clinched his first podium of the season with third place. Häkkinen did not score points in the next two consecutive races, although he later clinched another podium position with third place at the Norisring. In the next three races, he was unable to score more points, although he clinched another podium position at the Bugatti Circuit. Häkkinen concluded his season with a retirement at the Hockenheimring when his car's diffuser became damaged.[136] Hakkinen ended the year 6th in the Drivers' Championship, scoring 25 points.[11] In November, Häkkinen tested a McLaren MP4-21 for one day at the Circuit de Catalunya where he completed 79 laps and was performing preparation work for the team.[137] To prepare himself, Häkkinen spent time at the McLaren Technology Centre to help familiarise himself with Formula One's new regulations.[138]

2007[edit]

Häkkinen driving Mercedes Stars and Cars in 2007

On 28 January 2007, it was announced that Häkkinen would remain in DTM for the 2007 season for HWA,[139] and was partnered by Spengler, Green and Schneidler. Häkkinen stated that during 2006, his team's potential was not realised and aimed during 2007 to improve on his results.[139] He started the season by clinching consecutive finishes in the first two races, abeit outside of the points scoring positions. At the third race of the season held at EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Häkkinen clinched his first victory of the season although half points were awarded due to errors made by race organisers, resulting in the official race result remaining provisional.[140] He clinched pole for the following race at Brands Hatch where he clinched fourth position,[141] and followed the result with a ninth place finish at the Norisring.[142]

Häkkinen clinched his second victory of the season at Mugello, after starting from 15th position.[143] He later managed to clinch 7th place at Zandvoort and later finished with a 10th place finish at the Nürburgring. At the race held at the Circuit de Catanuya, Häkkinen was involved in a collision with Audi driver Martin Tomczyk. Häkkinen was penalised with a €20,000 fine, received a ten-place grid penalty for the next round and was disqualifed from the race.[144] He finished the season with a 17th place finish at the Hockenheimring. Häkkinen finished the season 7th place in the Championship, with 22 points.[11]

Post-DTM (2008–present)[edit]

Häkkinen announced his retirement from competitive motorsport in November 2007.[145] 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."[146]

In November 2008, it was announced that Häkkinen would start a new career in Driver Management and would work alongside Didier Coton in his firm Aces Associate Group.[147] Häkkinen contested his fifth Arctic Rally event in January 2009 driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX alongside co-driver Ilkka Kivimaki and finished 19th overall.[148][149] Häkkinen made his dèbut in sports cars when Team AMG China entered a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG in November 2011 to participate in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup at the 6 Hours of Zhuhai race alongside Lance David Arnold and Cheng Congfu.[150] During the event, the team retired after completing two hours.[151] In October 2013, Häkkinen participated in the GT Asia series for the two races held at the Zhuhai International Circuit, driving a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG 300 alongside co-driver Matthew Solomon.[152] Häkkinen clinched victory in the first race after starting from sixth position. The victory resulted in a 15 second handicap during his mandatory pitstop for his second race and finished in fourth position.[153]

Driving style and personality[edit]

Häkkinen is known for his unique driving style; journalist Peter Windsor analysed in F1 Racing magazine that Häkkinen was an "oversteering" driver, resulting in driving faster on slippery surfaces and the preference of using "tail-happy" cars.[154] This allowed him to perform better at circuits that have medium-speed corners.[155] During his karting career, Häkkinen developed the skill of using the brake pedal with his left-foot. He reverted to using his right-foot when he participated in DTM, later discovering he became uncomfortable with this style and reverted to right-foot braking in mid-2006.[156] He became known as a "late season driver"; the second half of a season suited Häkkinen due to experience on these tracks and allowed time for his car to be altered towards his preference.[58]

During his Formula One career, Häkkinen became known as a "taciturn" character—an individual who take lengthy pauses before answering questions placed before him and would give virtually nothing away to the media.[1] This allowed him to prevent problems and potential scadals from within his team becoming public knowledge.[157] Häkkinen's nickname was the "Flying Finn".[158] Since his retirement, Häkkinen has often been voted among the greatest Formula One drivers.[1][2] Michael Schumacher has stated that Häkkinen was the driver whom he gained the most satisifcation of racing against.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Like many Formula One drivers, Häkkinen resides in the principality of Monaco, where he moved in 1991. He also owns properties in France and Finland.[10] On 18 May 2008, his newly completed mansion in France was burned down after a light in one of his trophy cabinets short circuited. No injuries were reported, although Häkkinen's collection of Formula One trophies were destroyed.[159] Outside motorsport, Häkkinen enjoys skiing, swimming, tennis, scuba diving and jet ski. His favourite music acts are Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra and J. Karjalainen.[58][160]

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 applied for divorce in 2008.[161] Häkkinen's third child, daughter Ella, was born on 30 November 2010 to his Czech girlfriend Markéta Remešová[162] with twins Daniel Pauli and Lynn Maria born on 4 February 2014.[163]

Häkkinen joined Johnnie Walker as their Global Responsible Drinking Ambassador in September 2006, campaigning for the message of responsible drinking. He also led the organisation's Join the Pact campaign to spread consumer commitments for the prevention of drink driving.[164] He is also an ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and undertakes marketing work for myHermes and Red Devil.[165]

Racing record[edit]

Career summary[edit]

Season Series Team Name Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
1987 Nordic Formula Ford Reynard 15 9  ?  ?  ? 40 1st
1988 GM Vauxhall-Lotus Challenge Dragon 10 3 4  ?  ? 127 2nd
Opel-Lotus Euroseries 10 4 2  ?  ? 126 1st
1989 British Formula Three Dragon 17 0 2  ?  ? 18 7th
Cellnet Formula Three SuperPrix WSR 1 1 1  ?  ? N/A 1st
Macau Grand Prix Dragon 1 0 0 0 0 N/A NC
1990 British Formula Three WSR 17 10 11  ?  ? 121 1st
Italian Formula Three 1 1 0  ? 1 9  ?
German Formula Three 1 1 1  ? 1 9  ?
Macau Grand Prix 1 0 1 0 0 N/A NC
Fuji Formula Three Race 1 0 0 0 0 N/A NC
1991 Formula One Team Lotus 15 0 0 0 0 2 16th
1992 Formula One Team Lotus 15 0 0 0 0 11 8th
1993 Formula One Marlboro McLaren 3 0 0 0 1 4 15th
Porsche Supercup  ? 2 2 2  ?  ?  ?  ?
1994 Formula One Marlboro McLaren Peugeot 15 0 0 0 6 26 4th
1995 Formula One Marlboro McLaren Mercedes 15 0 0 0 2 17 7th
1996 Formula One Marlboro McLaren Mercedes 16 0 0 0 4 31 5th
1997 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes 16 1 1 1 2 27 6th
1998 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes 16 8 9 6 11 100 1st
1999 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes 16 5 11 5 10 76 1st
2000 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes 17 4 5 9 11 89 2nd
2001 Formula One West McLaren Mercedes 17 2 0 3 3 37 5th
2005 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters AMG-Mercedes 11 1 1 3 3 30 5th
2006 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters HWA-Mercedes 10 0 0 2 3 25 6th
2007 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters HWA-Mercedes 10 2 2 0 2 22 8th
2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Team AMG 1 0 0 1 0 0

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position, races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 WDC Points
1991 Team Lotus Lotus 102B Judd EV 3.5 V8 USA
13
BRA
9
SMR
5
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
MEX
9
FRA
DNQ
GBR
12
GER
Ret
HUN
14
BEL
Ret
ITA
14
POR
14
ESP
Ret
JPN
Ret
AUS
19
16th 2
1992 Team Lotus Lotus 102D Ford HB 3.5 V8 RSA
9
MEX
6
BRA
10
ESP
Ret
SMR
DNQ
8th 11
Lotus 107 MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
4
GBR
6
GER
Ret
HUN
4
BEL
6
ITA
Ret
POR
5
JPN
Ret
AUS
7
1993 Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/8 Ford HBE7 3.5 V8 RSA BRA EUR SMR ESP MON CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR
Ret
JPN
3
AUS
Ret
15th 4
1994 Marlboro McLaren Peugeot McLaren MP4/9 Peugeot A6 3.5 V10 BRA
Ret
PAC
Ret
SMR
3
MON
Ret
ESP
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
3
GER
Ret
HUN
BEL
2
ITA
3
POR
3
EUR
3
JPN
7
AUS
12
4th 26
1995 Marlboro McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/10 Mercedes FO 110 3.0 V10 BRA
4
ARG
Ret
SMR
5
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
7th 17
McLaren MP4/10B FRA
7
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
BEL
Ret
ITA
2
PAC
JPN
2
AUS
DNS
McLaren MP4/10C POR
Ret
EUR
8
1996 Marlboro McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/11 Mercedes FO 110/3 3.0 V10 AUS
5
BRA
4
ARG
Ret
EUR
8
SMR
8
MON
6
ESP
5
CAN
5
FRA
5
5th 31
McLaren MP4/11B GBR
3
GER
Ret
HUN
4
BEL
3
ITA
3
POR
Ret
JPN
3
1997 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/12 Mercedes FO 110E 3.0 V10 AUS
3
BRA
4
ARG
5
SMR
6
MON
Ret
ESP
7
CAN
Ret
6th 27
Mercedes FO 110F 3.0 V10 FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
3
HUN
Ret
BEL
DSQ
ITA
9
AUT
Ret
LUX
Ret
JPN
4
EUR
1
1998 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/13 Mercedes FO 110G 3.0 V10 AUS
1
BRA
1
ARG
2
SMR
Ret
ESP
1
MON
1
CAN
Ret
FRA
3
GBR
2
AUT
1
GER
1
HUN
6
BEL
Ret
ITA
4
LUX
1
JPN
1
1st 100
1999 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/14 Mercedes FO 110H 3.0 V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
1
SMR
Ret
MON
3
ESP
1
CAN
1
FRA
2
GBR
Ret
AUT
3
GER
Ret
HUN
1
BEL
2
ITA
Ret
EUR
5
MAL
3
JPN
1
1st 76
2000 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4/15 Mercedes FO 110J 3.0 V10 AUS
Ret
BRA
Ret
SMR
2
GBR
2
ESP
1
EUR
2
MON
6
CAN
4
FRA
2
AUT
1
GER
2
HUN
1
BEL
1
ITA
2
USA
Ret
JPN
2
MAL
4
2nd 89
2001 West McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-16 Mercedes FO 110K 3.0 V10 AUS
Ret
MAL
6
BRA
Ret
SMR
4
ESP
9
AUT
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
3
EUR
6
FRA
DNS
GBR
1
GER
Ret
HUN
5
BEL
4
ITA
Ret
USA
1
JPN
4
5th 37

Complete DTM results[edit]

(key)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pos Points
2005 Mercedes HOC
8
LAU
3
SPA
1
BRN
13
OSC
Ret
NOR
Ret
NÜR
4
ZAN
12
LAU
12
IST
2
HOC
15
5th 30
2006 Mercedes HOC
4
LAU
3
OSC
9
BRH
11
NOR
3
NÜR
12
ZAN
11
CAT
11
BUG
2
HOC
Ret
6th 25
2007 Mercedes HOC
10
OSC
17
LAU*
1
BRH
4
NOR
9
MUG
1
ZAN
7
NÜR
10
CAT
DSQ
HOC
17
8th 22

* Half points were awarded in the race due to several errors made by the race officials.

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