NOVEMBER 7, 2004
Hakkinen out of the F1 picture
Mika Hakkinen was vaguely talking to a number of Formula 1 teams about a return to Grand Prix racing but after a small amount of interest from Williams in the late summer, the Finn seemed to be without any real options and so has now accepted that situation and has signed to drive for Mercedes-Benz in the 2005 DTM. The 36-year-old retired from F1 at the end of 2001 having won 20 Grands Prix, all of them with McLaren Mercedes. He won World Championships in 1998 and 1999.
"After the end of my Formula 1 career in 2001, I realised that I'm not ready to retire for good," he said. "It was just the right moment that Mercedes-Benz offered me to test a DTM car. I saw immediately that I still enjoy racing very much and during the test three weeks ago, my lap times were at the same level as those of the touring car specialists. I know, of course, that I first have to get used to a DTM car to be able to fight with the front runners. The AMG-Mercedes C-Class, however, is a great car and with it I want to be consistently competitive soon. I look forward to an interesting season with exciting battles - against my former Formula 1 colleagues as well as against the young DTM drivers - and to see again my fans."
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