A new look for the -Mercedes MP4/12 in 1997. The main sponsor Marlboro, with the famous red and white colours who sponsored McLaren and Mika for ages, went to Ferrari. West, not unfamiliar in motor-racing, became main sponsor. With the colour change the Mercedes finally looked like a silver-arrow again. A spectacular launch on Friday February 14, 1997 in Alexandra Palace, London with the Spice Girls and Jamiroquai kicked-off the season.
Spice up your car with Mercedes-power, the McLaren-Mercedes MP4/12 car nr.9
(click on the photo's for a larger version; click on the name Spice Girls for music)
In the first race at Albert Park in Melbourne,
Australia, Mika Häkkinen immediately reached the podium (3rd) alongside team mate David
Coulthard who took victory. The silver-arrows are back!
Mika frequently finished in the points (top six): 3rd in Australia, Germany and Belgium, 4th in Brazil and Japan, 5th in Argentina and 6th in San Marino. Due to a not allowed petrol-mix he lost his third place and points of the Belgium GP. In Italy Mika had his first fastest lap in the race while David took victory again.
After Mika's first pole position ever in F1 in the GP of Luxembourg (Nurburgring) the only thing that missing was a Formula One victory. In England and Luxembourg a victory was only a few laps away but the engine blew just before the end of the race. Finally in the last race of the season, the GP of Europe held at Jerez in Spain, Mika Häkkinen celebrated his first Grand Prix victory. A 'crying Finn' stood on the podium next to David who finished second and third place was for Williams-Renault driver Jacques Villeneuve who became F1 world champion 1997 with this result.
Click HERE to see the movie (+ sound) of Mika's first win ! (download time +/- 4 min.)
click on the McLaren to race to 1998.