Hakkinen Lauds McLaren for Incredible Turnaround From Being a ‘Cold Team’ Under Ron Dennis

Published 12/29/2020, 8:23 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – McLaren team members pose after the race Pool via REUTERS/Clive Mason


McLaren used to be a regular contender for the championships in the 1980s and 1990s. It was the British Racing team’s most successful era with legendary drivers like Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna helping them stay at the top.

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However, McLaren saw a significant drop in their performance this decade. They finished P3 in 2012 but dropped to P9 in 2015 and in 2017 as well. McLaren’s latest and the only title this century was with Lewis Hamilton in 2008. This year, the team displayed their best performance since 2012.

The team came back to the top-field as they finished P3 in the standings. McLaren had won their last constructors’ title with Mika Hakkinen in 1998. Meanwhile, the Finnish driver had a few words to say about McLaren’s turnaround under Zak Brown‘s leadership.

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He said, “They’ve done a brilliant work. You know, image is a very important part of the team. I’ll tell you what, when I look back in my time when I was racing, McLaren was a team which was quite a cold team outside. You know, it was a very straightforward operating team and difficult to enter to have a relaxed atmosphere.”

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Hakkinen lauds McLaren for their new team culture

Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris and Zak Brown have talked about McLaren’s new team culture in recent years. They have explained how this has helped the drivers and the teamwork towards realizing their best finish his year since 2012.

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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2020 McLaren’s Lando Norris during practice Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace

Mika Hakkinen also pointed out that McLaren did not have such a culture at the time he drove for the team. In the podcast, the pair discussed Mclaren’s unfriendly reflection under Ron Dennis. “So that got an image from outside (which) McLaren had in the past,” said Hakkinen.

“Yeah it was his 100% his way of running the system and it worked, you know, it just simply worked and it was fantastic,” Hakkinen on Ron Dennis’s leadership. “Now these days, times are changing,” he concluded.

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McLaren have finally crossed the mid-field huddle and finished in the Top-3. McLaren will hope to continue their 2020 form and keep climbing that ladder. Hopefully, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will help them get back to their glorious winning days next season.

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Ayush Manjunath

586 articles

Ayush Manjunath is a Formula 1 author for EssentiallySports with more than 500 articles to his name. A Law graduate and a current Sports Management student, Ayush also has a certificate from UCLA on Sports, Media and Entertainment Management. He has an undying love for motorsports and lives to see Max Verstappen, George Russell, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris battle for the championship one day!

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