Honda website
Honda website

MAY 14, 2001

Hakkinen given boost by Newey

OUT-OF-SORTS Mika Hakkinen has been given a boost by McLaren technical director Adrian Newey after the Finnish driver failed to get off the grid at the Austrian Grand Prix at the A1-Ring on Sunday.

Hakkinen failed to activate his launch control system correctly and was left stationary on the track but Newey backed him to get used to the new driver aid quickly.

Newey said that Hakkinen was used to manual starts and believes that the two-time world champion will get it right in the forthcoming races.

"It was related to the launch control," said Newey. "I think it's basically a human systems interface problem. Not an engineering error but I think, how can I put it, that it comes down to the fact that the system was not operated properly.

"But that's not to criticize Mika because perhaps it's a bit too complicated. It has to be more than just pressing a button.

"A racing driver, by the time he gets to Formula One, has been practising a normal start for years. Here we're talking about only the second start on these systems. Obviously everybody has practised in testing, but it's the same old thing that it is completely different in the heat of the moment."

Newey also backed Hakkinen to recover from his poor start and to make a late challenge for the championship despite being 38 points behind series leader Michael Schumacher.

He added: "I think Mika is very good at keeping himself motivated. He is obviously very disappointed with his current position but I think the hallmark of any great sportsman is to put that behind them and just look forwards."