Former McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen spoke with the New Zealand Herald this week and shared his thoughts on the spectacle that is or isn’t F1. After a bleak start to the season, things have progressively picked up thanks to rain and a lack of grip but the Finnish driver and world champion feels that fans need to get educated before castigating F1:
“People have to have a deeper and better understanding of F1 and understand what the driver is going through and what the teams are doing.
“They should study it. If you just turn on your television and watch the Grand Prix and watch people go around and around, it’s boring and you change the channel. The more knowledge you have, the more interesting it is. There is so much more technical information available now, including on-board cameras, but you have to be interested in that stuff.”
I couldn’t agree with him more. Not because I am being heavy handed in suggesting that I, or anyone else at F1B, are the purveyors of F1 knowledge and understanding. It is because he speaks to the very truth of F1 fans. We love the sport for many reason but most hardcore fans are ardent in their love for the racing series because they have unpacked the sport at a much deeper level that casual viewing.
A very large prime mover for me is the understanding of the technology, team strategy and the driver skill that goes into even the most boring race on the calendar. F1B’s very own Paul Charsley has never wavered in his assertion that any F1 race is terrific because he loves the sport so completely. I echo that sentiment and Hakkinen’s words couldn’t be more true. F1 would do well to capitalize on that desire and open the series up more for the fan.
Hakkinen officially retired from motorsport and has moved in to sport management with his former manage Didier Coton at Aces Management. Hakkinen has a keen eye for talent and knows a good driver when he sees one–even an older one:
“We have definitely seen that Sebastian Vettel is number one at the moment and he’s the hot cookie for now. He’s really driving flat out at the moment and not talking much or complaining. His plan is to turn up at a Grand Prix and win it, simple as that.
“We still have to wait and see for a few more racers to see who will be the real contenders for the championship.
“Everybody is still developing and the cars are getting better and being competitive.
There are many world champions out there who know how to do it, including Michael Schumacher.”