(Motorsport-Entire.com) – Mika Häkkinen is still Michael Schumacher's “favorite rival”. From … to 2001 the two exciting battles for the Formula 1 title were fought, in which only the Finn could win two before the era of Schumacher and Ferrari started. But the story was almost different and Häkkinen could have become a great rival even before his McLaren days – instead of Damon Hill.
Because Williams wanted the teen 1993 as Sign successor to world champion Nigel Mansell. “I was fighting in a fantastic misfortune because we got lots of offers from different groups,” remembers Häkkinen in the podcast 'Previous The Grid'. “Williams battle one of them, McLaren, Ligier … only Ferrari was missing.”
Häkkinen had previously drawn attention to himself at Lotus for two years and was now faced with an important decision in his career. His then supervisor Keke Rosberg had his hands full. “Keke's fax machine ran non-stop,” says Häkkinen. “He was very stressed and had his whiskey glass,” he says about the crucial meeting just before Christmas 1992.
For many, the decision would have been easy, because at the time battle Williams was the measure of all things. The racing team won 1992 in a dominant manner and also seemed to be the next one Season was well prepared, while McLaren seemed to be on the decline after the departure from Honda and the change to Ford engines.
photo gallery : The career of Mika Häkkinen
Especially in Germany, Mika Häkkinen is a great rival of Michael Schumacher known. But before the two fought for the World Cup and the Finn won two titles, he had to be very patient in his career. And survive some setbacks. Photo gallery
Nevertheless, the Finn opted for the racing team of Ron Dennis and against the crew, with the Keke Rosberg 1982 became world champion battle. “I told Keke that I wanted to go to McLaren. I think he was very surprised at the battle,” said Häkkinen. But the 24 year old had his reasons.
“A lot of people think it's battle because of money,” he says. “Of course that's an important part, but I was confident in McLaren.” The fact that Häkkinen ultimately chose McLaren had to do with the differences in team leadership. He felt that the drivers at McLaren had full respect from the whole crew.
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“The driver is the well-known person and he is also the team player. We all win together,” he says. “And I got the feeling that at Williams the driver is just the driver.”
Häkkinen shared this reason with Rosberg and changed 1993 to McLaren, where, however, he should only be the third man behind Ayrton Senna and Michael Andretti before Andretti leads the crew three races ahead Conclusion left. The decision should still pay off in the end – if only five years later.