Mika Hakkinen urges Formula 1 drivers to put more content on social media
Two-time Formula 1 champion Mika Hakkinen reckons drivers in today's time can use a bit more of social media in on overall growth to become a complete personality. Speaking to Firstporst in his visit to India for Johnnie Walker's #JoinThePact event, Hakkinen laid down the importance of delivering more content to make a story.
Referencing to Fernando Alonso's quest to become the world's best racing driver, the Finn said: "In my opinion, in my days, it was important to be a great driver, good team player, good race driver, good qualifier, good to work with the media, and take care of your fitness and be strong in your mind - the list is long.
"But today, those same areas, you have to be best in all. Also, now we have the social media, you have to be best over there. [You have] to have a great content, have great stories - not just take a picture and be on the social media [to say] 'look how fantastic I am' - I think it requires more.
"Whether the people are actors or actresses, or racing drivers, whatever, you need also be best over there to keep the fans up with the right content and keep them informed, educate them as much you can, share your experience and that’s the one area where the stars today can be better."
Hakkinen believes social media is a great tool in current age to make a driver or a team, much more accessible and convey a story for the fans, which the new owners Liberty Media is already trying to do - unlike Bernie Ecclestone, who didn't see commercial gains in that.
Meanwhile, talking about the 2017 season, Hakkinen said he was happy to see the battle between manufacturers' Mercedes and Ferrari, and its drivers Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. According to the Finn, the turning point was Hamilton and Mercedes' turnaround in the second half, which led to them clinching both the titles convincingly.
Hakkinen also hailed Hamilton's mindset, adding that one doesn't become a four-time champion without talent. "I mean four times world champion, it’s not just the luck how you win it. You need little bit extra there," he said.
"He has put in a great performance, it needs lot of physical power. It needs lot of psychological power, it needs a great team stability to achieve that kind of results. It [four titles] really shows that the driver is becoming more and more complete. That’s how I see it.
"We talk of Michael Schumacher, he’s seven time champion, that’s incredible. So, four is also a little number and two….I won it twice. But even winning it twice from my experience, it requires so much energy, imagine that four times or seven times. For me it is just great respect."
While hailing Hamilton, the 49-year-old credited the Red Bull Racing duo Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo for their performances. However, he reckons Verstappen will need more time to develop with all the talent he posses and his journey to a world title will see lots of failures as well - where bouncing back, being 'diplomatic' and 'compromising' will be required.
At the same time, with Ricciardo on the stage of being pushed down as a second driver to either Hamilton or Vettel or even Verstappen, the Finn believes the Australian has to keep his mental stature high, otherwise it could be 'catastrophic' for him.
Moving to his countrymen Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, the 20-time grand prix winner has no doubts that Bottas is in for a great future. Even though he has been the second best to Hamilton in 2017, but the way he has driven and handled the situation, it shows a lot of character.
"Valtteri keeps developing all the time, we have seen this year, his performances has been great in some grand prixs, but we have to understand that Lewis’ driving and Valtteri’s driving - the car has been developed around Hamilton," he said.
"It has been set for so many years. So, for Valtteri to come, it is difficult for him to get the car like he wants to be. He’s been there already one year, so it takes time to get things work. I can see his future going to be really bright, really great."
For Raikkonen, the Finn admitted that age might be catching up with him, but until the time he is enjoying his career, he should shun all the media sayings and keep on with his Ferrari drive. "He’s getting close to 40-years-old, so he’s not the young guy anymore, and you are racing against the guys who are 18-19 and 20 years old.
"When you are getting older, when your knees are more painful when you are walking around the garden, it’s tough. If Kimi is enjoying his career and his driving - that’s fantastic - and you don’t have to listen what other people are talking enjoy what you do," he said.
Finally, speaking on the perils his former team McLaren endured with Honda, Hakkinen is of the view that the limited testing in the current time has severely hindered the Japanese manufacturer's progress - which wasn't the case before, certainly not when Honda had a great time with McLaren.
"When I was in lower categories, I was using Honda Mugen engine and it was a great engine. Honda has been making great engines, even for McLaren in the past. Alain Prost was winning, Aryton Senna was winning, unbelievable performance as to what they did, so at that time when Honda was with McLaren, there was unlimited testing they could do," he said.
"Every week testing with the car on the race track, real action. And now these regulations, what we have in Formula 1 these days, you are not allowed to test, except the start of the season and little bit in between the season. To develop the engine inside the room like we are now in the dynos, so you are not testing the engine in the real life.
"The improvement that the engine manufacturer do is very tiny during the season, so if we start in the wrong way in the first place then it is difficult to catch the others. And McLaren has been struggling because they been having failures in their engines and it’s been taking a long time.
"Now of course they keep pushing and developing the engine, adjusting and they slightly get better and better result. And next year, they will have a different engine supplier, so I expect and I believe that they will get a good result. [And] yes, I would [bet on them winning races in 2018]."