Rumours of Mika Hakkinen’s F1 return behind the wheel of a Williams-BMW in 2005 have been quashed with the news that the Finn will be racing in DTM with an AMG-Mercedes C-Class next year.

Rumours of Mika Hakkinen’s F1 return behind the wheel of a Williams-BMW in 2005 have been quashed with the news that the Finn will be racing in DTM with an AMG-Mercedes C-Class next year.


Some quarters of the F1 establishment speculated that the 1998 and 1999 World Champion was an outside contender to replace Ralf Schumacher at the Grove-based team after the Contracts Recognition Board ruled Jenson Button had to drive for BAR Honda next year.


But instead, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport announced the Finn, who tested the DTM C-Class at the Lausitzring last month, would make a comeback with the manufacturer that had helped him win with two world titles.


Häkkinen, 36, retired from F1 at the end of 2001, after winning 20 grands prix with McLaren Mercedes, achieving 26 pole positions, 25 fastest race laps and scoring 420 world championship points.


"After the end of my F1 career, I soon realised that I'm not ready to retire for good," said Häkkinen. "(After testing the DTM car) I saw immediately that I still enjoy racing very much and during the test, my lap times were at the same level as those of the touring car specialists. I know that I first have to get used to a DTM car to be able to fight with the frontrunners. 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 F1 colleagues (such as Frenchman Jean Alesi) as well as against the young DTM drivers - and to see again my fans. I'm especially happy about returning to the Mercedes family - I'm back, but I've never been really gone."


Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice president Norbert Haug added: "Mika was always interested in DTM and has become a real fan of the formula, as he told us. During his test he proved that he hasn't lost his speed. We look forward to exciting battles next year."