Double F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen has revealed that he advised his fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen to stay with the McLaren team and not to switch to Ferrari. Talking to Finnish newspaper Ilalehti, Hakkinen said he feared Raikkonen would struggle to adapt to the atmosphere at Ferrari.
“I warned him that changing teams might not go well for him,” Hakkinen began. “Unfortunately for Kimi, my forecasts are being fulfilled.”
Hakkinen himself stuck by McLaren during the 1990s, even with a turbulent period after the death of Ayrton Senna and then the unsettled start of the Mercedes-Benz partnership. His loyalty paid off when he won back to back titles in 1998 and 1999.
“Winning the world championship is like a spider-web which needs many threads, and time,” Hakkinen continued. “Of course it is true that McLaren’s recent past had some problems, but it is a team that has always had the capacity to recover. It is possible that Kimi has not measured the risks too well because it looks like a difficult year for him.
“Also, the McLaren car has evolved a lot in the past races and winning titles can depend on a lot of minor factors. In this game, there are many excellent drivers so Kimi cannot rely exclusively on his talent.”