The entire McLaren team, not least former driver Mika Hakkinen, has gone to great lengths to welcome Finnish star Kimi Raikkonen to its ranks. CARtoday.com brings you all the quotes!
The entire McLaren team, not least former driver Mika Hakkinen, has gone to great lengths to welcome young Finnish star Kimi Raikkonen to its ranks. Double world champion Hakkinen might be taking a sabbatical from Formula One next year, but before he leaves he seems determined to help his fellow countryman find his feet at the Woking-based team.
Hakkinen this week said that Raikkonen would live up to all the expectations in the Formula One paddock. He added that McLaren was “the perfect team to bring out the best in Raikkonen”.
"When Kimi’s contract was signed, I thought that it was fantastic because I always told (team boss) Ron Dennis and other people: 'If you wanna win, get the Finn'," said Hakkinen. "He is talented and, considering his experience in car racing, his results have been fantastic, he has made very few mistakes. On a scale from one to five I would give him an extremely high four.
"I think his chances for the next year will be high because of the team. McLaren will give him maximum support and can motivate him to win. When I joined the team I was only 22 or 23 years old and I got great support from the team, from the management, from the mechanics, from the partners,” Hakkinen added.
Ron Dennis is reportedly eager for the new season to start. F1-live.com recently quoted Dennis as saying that David Coulthard and Raikkonen would only compliment each other as the year progressed.
“The sheer range and diversity of the driving talent we have at our disposal for 2002 and beyond means that McLaren will be in a position to maximise any opportunities and eventualities,” Dennis said. “It goes without saying that we're all very keen to see how our new recruit shapes up alongside Coulthard in the team next season.
“They should complement each other with a blend of youthful vigour and seasoned experience,” he added. “We intend to have a significantly more successful season (in 2002) than the one that has just ended.”
The young Finn, meanwhile, is looking forward to a season that could present a steep learning curve to a man in only his second season of Formula One.
“I met Ron Dennis for the first time at the Canadian GP and after that I talked a couple of times with David Coulthard and he seems to be a nice person,” Raikkonen said on the team's official website. “I don't think we'll have any problems in working together. I'm sure I can and will learn lot of things from David and from (test driver) Alex Wurz too when we all start to work together.”