“Please Don’t Crush Me” – F1 Legend Mika Hakkinen Opens Up on His Early Problems at McLaren

Published 11/08/2021, 11:48 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 9, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris during qualifying REUTERS/Umit Bektas


Communication is an essential part of Formula One. The drivers need to be in constant communication with their team to extract the maximum from the car on the track. Former world champion Mika Hakkinen stated that his former boss, Ron Dennis, had helped in improving his communication skills.

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Hakkinen explained how the drivers communicate with their team while driving at 300km/h. The former McLaren world champion stated that Ron Dennis had mentioned that the Finn has really poor communication skills.

The information from your team at the pit wall and the garage comes in handy when you are racing in the wets. The drivers and the team usually have different ways in which they can communicate with each other during a race.

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“Team radio talks. We have our own language. I had to learn how to communicate. In my early days with McLaren, Ron Dennis shook his head and said, ‘Gosh! You can’t communicate at all.’ I asked, please don’t crush me. I try my best.” said Hakkinen, recalling the incident.

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Without him, I wouldn’t have been twice a world champion: Mika Hakkinen

As reported by Gulf news, the Finn enjoyed a wonderful time with McLaren. He, under the leadership of Ron Dennis, won the championship twice in 1998 and 1999. The Finn recalled having a wonderful time working with the former CEO of the Woking-based team.

Mika Hakkinen drives around Spa in 1992

“I had a fantastic time. Without him, I wouldn’t have been twice a world champion. He was a very tough leader in a team for the drivers. He worked me very hard and my teammates. And working hard also has to be very constructive.”

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“Ron was able to organize this very well. I believe he’s a great leader. But generations change and people change and think a little bit differently these days.” said Mika.

Hakkinen and McLaren won 20 Grand Prix together. The Finn also guided the team in winning the 1998 constructor’s championship, which still remains in their history books.

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What do you think of Mika’s communication issues? Let us know.

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Devang Chauhan

567 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sports Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been an ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

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