Formula One team McLaren has tapped two-time F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen as a “Partner Advisor” for the 2017 season.
When things get dire, start calling on your life-lines. That’s precisely what McLaren is doing after the issues encountered in pre-season testing. With their partnership with Honda openly strained, and the Japanese manufacturer forced to send their engine all the way back to Japan for an in-depth analysis in an attempt to locate the cause of their crippling issues, McLaren has had enough and has decided to call in on some outside advice during such a stressful situation.
Mika Hakkinen, two-time world champion and McLaren driver from 1993 to 2001, has agreed to return to the troubled team to work with old comrades one more. Mika’s role will be as a “Partner Advisor”, and while the exact terms of his duties have remained confidential, he has offered some words as to what kind of work he’ll be doing alongside Zak Brown:
“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.” – Mika Hakkinen
Hakkinen went on to state that although he’s been out of the game for quite some time, his return to McLaren was something like a homecoming – and it’s a home that he wants to see restored:
“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.” – Mika Hakkinen
With the lift of in-season engine development this season, there’s always the chance that McLaren-Honda could improve throughout 2017. It has been gloom and doom in pre-season testing, it isn’t likely to be a points-scoring weekend in Australia, but it’s a long season.