NOVEMBER 3, 2007

Mika Hakkinen retires

Mika Hakkinen has announced his retirement from motorsport.

"I've got good news and bad news," the double World Champion told the fans at the Mercedes-Benz Stars & Cars event in Stuttgart. "The bad news is that it is time for me to stop DTM. That will be over. The good news is that my competitors can have a little more peace on the track."

Hakkinen said that he had enjoyed his three years in the DTM and that he would continue to work in the long term with Mercedes-Benz.

At 39, Hakkinen has had a long and distinguished racing career behind him. He broke into F1 back in 1991 with Team Lotus and moved to McLaren in 1993, initially as the team's test driver for Ayrton Senna and Michael Andretti. He took over from Andretti later in the year.

He spent 1994 and 1995 learning the F1 ropes and was turning into a serious contender at the end of 1995 when he crashed badly in Adelaide after a tyre failure and nearly died. An emergency tracheotomy, performed by the side of the track, saved his life. Hakkinen came back in 1996 but it was a couple of years before he was back to his old self again and he won his first F1 victory at the end of 1997. He won the World Championship in 1998 and 1999 and was a serious contender in 2000 as well but at the start of 2001 he had a big accident in Australia which convinced him to think again about the sport. He did not race in 2002 and announced his retirement from F1 that summer. In 2003 and 2004 he did not race at all but returned in 2005 with Mercedes-Benz in DTM. He has now decided to call it a day once and for all.