YOU ASK THE QUESTIONS
There is much to discuss, not least the “probable” return of Kimi Räikkönen to F1, the kicking of DC’s behind and a curious afternoon with James Hunt and his budgies that led Mika to ask: “What was all that about?”
WORDS HANS SEEBERG PORTRAITS LORENZO BELLANCA/LAT
Mika Häkkinen is in a relaxed mood, which might have something to do with being on a £30million yacht in Monaco, surrounded by beautiful women and watching qualifying on a 50-inch HD telly. It’s often said that being an F1 driver is a glamorous job, but it’s nothing compared to being a recently retired double world champion.
Even so, Häkkinen has the air of a man so at ease with life that you sense he’d be equally happy chatting away at a Little Chef somewhere off the M4. This is slightly at odds with the aloof persona he gave off during his F1 career, one of many things he addresses in an absorbing 45-minute session, where he tackles a host of your questions. “F1 takes your soul – it takes everything,” he goes on to admit, tellingly.
As the action unfolds on TV, the only thing that punctures Häkkinen’s breezy demeanour is Sergio Pérez’s huge shunt at the chicane after the tunnel. Mika is noticeably quiet, perhaps thinking back to his own accident at Adelaide in 1995 that left him with a skull fracture and internal bleeding. He watches the screen intently as medics attend to Pérez, and doesn’t speak until it’s announced that the Sauber driver is definitely going to be okay.
So as the qualifying session comes to an end, Mika – here in his role as a brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker – picks up the question cards and smiles. “Let’s do this!” he grins.
Would you ever come back to Formula 1 as a team boss? Peter Corcoran, UK It’s a simple question and I’ll give you a simple answer: no. To be a team boss is a massive responsibility; it’s an extremely complicated job to have and to do, and Formula 1 is a very specialised sport. If I took a position as a team boss, I’d like my team to win – we’d have to have the right people, the right sponsors, great designers and all the rest of it. Those are the elements you need to succeed, but it’s very difficult to make it all happen. I couldn’t do all of that, so I don’t want to even try. It’s a good question though.
Why didn’t Formula 1 work out in the long-term for Kimi Räikkönen? Cesar Alvarez, Dominican Republic I don’t know… I mean he was in Formula 1 for quite a few years and he did a great job in my opinion. He’s a super talent, but I think Kimi probably didn’t feel like he wanted to take part in Formula 1 any more. It’s a very strict sport and you really have to follow the rules, and I think he
20 F1 Racing March 2010
38 F1 Racing September 2011