Five years ago, double world champion Mika Hakkinen turned his back on Formula One and returned to his native Finland to spend time with his young family, relax and enjoy life away from the pressure and pain of racing. And although Mika has since driven competitively, he hasn’t piloted a Formula One car since signing off all that time ago. Until today, that is.
Mike – who was recently appointed as an ambassador for a top McLaren sponsor, and also in an advisory role with the team – participated in a test with the Woking squad at Circuit de Catalunya today. While his initial pace was well wide of Ferrari’s Luca Badoer (about nine seconds), Mika’s expertise in F1 racing will prove to be valuable for the team, especially with two new drivers to the team this upcoming year, one of whom is a rookie.
By the end of the day, Mika had reacquainted himself with the modern day Formula One car and finished just three seconds shy of the pace setting Ferrari – a feat that is actually quite impressive when you consider how long it has been since Mika last drove an F1 car.
Although it was great fun today I also had to do some serious work for the team, as any feedback I could give them from today’s experience will help them with their preparations for the 2007 season.
It took several laps before I was up to speed, but we were all expecting this to be the case. Mika Hakkinen.
Also present at the test today were second Ferrari tester Marc Gene, who ended up sixth, just behind Rubens Barrichello and Lewis Hamilton. The BMWs ran well with Robert Kubica posting a time just 0.1s shy of Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen. Both Toyota’s of Schumacher and Trulli were present, and Timo Glock made his testing debut for the BMW team.
2. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m16.609s
3. Kubica – BMW – 1m16.729s
4. Hamilton – McLaren – 1m17.077s
5. Barrichello – Honda – 1m17.190s
6. Gene – Ferrari – 1m17.340s
7. R. Schumacher – Toyota – 1m17.359s
8. Piquet Jnr – Renault – 1m17.428s
9. Glock – BMW – 1m17.632s
10. Klien – Honda – 1m17.774s
11. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m17.876s
12. Trulli – Toyota – 1m18.019s
13. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m18.045s
14. Karthikeyan – Williams – 1m18.087s
15. Speed – Toro Rosso – 1m18.528s
16. Ammermuller – Red Bull Racing – 1m18.741s
17. Liuzzi – Toro Rosso – 1m18.798s
18. Hakinen – McLaren – 1m19.340s