Mika Takes a 1 year break
After 11 years in Formula One and two Formula One World Championships Mika Hakkinen will take a break following the end of the 2001 season to allow him to dedicate more time to family life.
MIKA HAKKINEN:'Formula One has been virtually my whole life since I started karting in 1974. The intensity of my career has become increasingly difficult for those around me. Whilst this year has been difficult for me and the team, these experiences have not guided the decision to take this break. I asked the team for a break which would be a good way to recharge my batteries and enjoy more time with my wife Erja and my son Hugo. I'm pleased to welcome a fellow Finn to the team and I wish Kimi all the best. However let's not forget that there are three races left for me this year, and I have every intention of going flat out. Of course it might have been easier to retire, but that just isn't a decision I feel ready to take. I know that I will have to work hard to return after my break but I know that I want to return with West McLaren Mercedes.'
RON DENNIS:'Mika has been a part of the team for nine years and after 159 races, 26 pole positions and 19 race wins, he decided that he wanted a break. Mika has always done an incredible job for us and now is not the time to be bidding him farewell. Whilst we have had a range of interesting options for 2002 we are very pleased to announce our driver line-up with David, Kimi and Alex.
NORBERT HAUG:'Today is a day with mixed emotions. Mercedes-Benz has a great relationship with Mika and he is a valued member of the family and not only because he has won two World Championships with West McLaren Mercedes. We have a lot of memories together and we want to thank Mika for all he has done for Mercedes-Benz and West McLaren Mercedes.
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Last update: 17 December 2001
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