Mika Hakkinen is the 1998 and 1999 FIA Formula One World Champion. He won both of his titles driving for the West McLaren Mercedes team. While Hakkinen won the Driver’s Championship in 1998, the team took the Constructor’s title, thanks in part to team mate David Coulthard. In 1999 Hakkinen clinched the Driver’s title for a second time, in the final race of the season at Suzuka, Japan. Scuderia Ferrari took the Constructor’s Title.
In 2000, however, Michael Schumacher and Ferrari took both the driver’s and constructor’s titles respectively, it being Schumacher’s third in his career and Ferrari’s first driver’s title in 21 years.
Back in 1998 the McLaren pair dominated the season, thanks to the outright superiority of the Adrian Newey engineered car. The only challenge was from Ferrari, who managed to improve their car in the mid and latter parts of the season, although it was still not up to the same level as the McLaren. Michael Schumacher was however able to use it as a tool to provide a challenge to Hakkinen for the driver’s title – the last race of the season at Suzuka, Japan was the decider.
In 1999, the McLaren team decided to go for an all new car, rather than improving upon the 1998 chassis and entering with that. Although the car was fast they experienced reliability problems during the early part of the season. The Ferrari team had also closed the gap significantly and were pressing for the championship themselves. However, Michael Schumacher crashed out at the British GP due to rear brake malfunction, leaving a somewhat incapable Eddie Irvine to take over the mantle. Although the championship went down to the wire, the very last race of the season, Mika once again reclaimed his title. He led the race from the beginning and finished first.
In 2000, Ferrari somewhat closed down the technical advantage that McLaren had enjoyed in previous years. This allowed for a more competitive environment and a true battle between the McLarens and Ferraris for the World Championship. Unfortunately McLaren seemed to have their unluckiest season for a long time, with rule infringements and crazy men on track all losing them valuable points. After Hakkinen placed second in the World Championship he graciously acknowledged Schumacher’s win.
2001 was not such a good year for Mika, he suffered with an unreliable car among other things. At the end of the season he decided to take a sabbatical year out during 2002. Subsequently, he announced his retirement from Formula 1 mid-way through that year.
The Ultimate F1 Review of 1999
If you’re a Hakkinen fan, the 1999 Formula One yearbook is a great souvenir, with Mika featuring on the cover. There is no better way to keep a record of Mika’s stunning second title victory.
The book contains a photographic review of the entire 1999 World Championship season, combined with detailed reports and analyses of each of the sixteen Grand Prix races. For each race a two-page spread shows the starting line-up, a detailed account of the race and the result, together with a description of the circuit, the weather conditions on the day of the race, and the particular issues and talking points that dominated discussion at the time.
Other chapters focus on the key issues of the season, illustrated with photographs and superb cut-away drawings of the main competing cars. Finally, the book contains a 100-page portfolio of glorious colour photographs covering the entire season. Remember the action and excitement of the Formula 1 season with this definitive record of a memorable World Championship.