Former double F1 world champion and McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen, has returned to Woking as a Partner Ambassador for McLaren, on a multi-year deal.
The flying Finn, as he has always been affectionately known, won both his 1998 and 1999 F1 titles with McLaren, on his way to completing 130 grand prix for the Woking based team.
The on-track rivalry he had with Scuderia Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher throughout his F1 career, won him the respect and hearts of fans the world over, making him one of the most popular drivers in the sport.
Hakkinen will work alongside McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown and McLaren Marketing in his new position, where he will work with already established partners of the company, as well as liaising with potential new business delegates.
The double world champion was extremely pleased to be returning to the place where he found immense success in F1.
“I’ve always considered McLaren to be my home in Formula 1, and I still have an enormous place in my heart for everyone in the team.
“Of course, the past few years for McLaren haven’t been easy, but I’ve always believed that it’s only a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ McLaren will come good again – and I want to play my part in helping that happen.
“Returning to McLaren was an easy decision for me – I’ve never really lost contact, and I still know a lot of the hard-working men and women there from my eight-and-a-bit seasons with the team.
“I’m also really looking forward to working with Zak, who owns one of my race-winning McLarens from 2001.
“We’ve spoken about how we can work together, and I can see that he’s putting in place the building blocks needed to help McLaren get back to the front. I’ll be collaborating closely with him during the exciting years ahead.
“Equally, I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the exciting world of McLaren Automotive. I have a modern-day McLaren in my fleet of road cars, and it’s a truly superb machine. I firmly believe that McLaren makes the very best high-performance supercars in the world today.”
Brown also expressed his delight at getting to work alongside one of his racing heroes.
“Mika [Hakkinen] is one of my all-time racing heroes, and a driver who remains one of the bravest, greatest and most iconic champions in Formula 1 history. His success with McLaren, and his battles with Michael [Schumacher], have become the stuff of Formula 1 legend, and underline Mika’s place among the pantheon of Grand Prix greats.
“Just as important, Mika is a hugely impressive individual away from the cockpit – sharp, intelligent, wise, calm, witty and still a huge fan of the sport. He’ll be an incredible asset to McLaren as we look to build on our partner portfolio and return to full competitiveness.
“It’s our intention to provide our partners with the best possible business and social experience, and having Mika as Partner Ambassador will certainly establish our presence at the pinnacle of Formula 1 team marketing and hospitality.”
The Finn will also work closely with McLaren Automotive Chief Executive Officer Mike Flewitt and his marketing team.