With Mika Hakkinen’s return to the cockpit for a McLaren test at Barcelona now confirmed (it’s happening today so watch this space – Ed), speculation is turning to the possibility of a more comprehensive formula one comeback for the ‘retired’ twice world champion.
The 38-year-old Finn demonstrated a modern McLaren single seater at the Goodwood event in July, but his Thursday run at Circuit de Catalunya is his first proper run since 2001.
Germany’s popular tabloid Bild-Zeitung asked Norbert Haug, competition chief for McLaren’s engine partner Mercedes-Benz, whether fans should expect the Flying Finn to make a full time comeback.
“At the moment, further tests are not planned,” said the German. “However, it is completely possible that he could have a role with us in the future.
“His experience can only be a help to us.”
A chirpy, plain-clothed Hakkinen sat down with reporters at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday afternoon shortly after arriving at the Spanish venue, but said he did not want to talk too much about the implications of his test.
“I have no feeling about it yet,” he commented. “Obviously you guys want to understand if I am coming back to F1 or if I am staying in the DTM — and at the moment the idea is the DTM.”
Hakkinen, however, rejected the notion that his laps in the MP4-22 are just for ‘fun’, or a publicity stunt.
He continued: “I think the thing for me to answer is, am I quick enough? It is all exciting but it is absolutely serious, it is not only fun, you know.
“You cannot test a formula one car and say it is a joke.”