Hakkinen to McLaren?
So Ferrari gets Michael Schumacher in an advisory role and, not to be outdone, McLaren is considering taking on Mika Hakkinen in a similar capacity. That would be quite appropriate since they were rivals on the track and Michael considers Mika the toughest opponent he ever faced.
I wonder for how long this new trend for ex-drivers as advisors will continue, however. Michael always looked the obvious candidate for such a job at Ferrari, thanks to his team-building abilities and motivating skills. But Mika seemed a very different sort, a pure racer without Michael’s cold calculation and insistence that everything be done his way. To me, he looks less suited to the position suggested at McLaren and would probably be better in some sort of public relations role. Everyone loves Mika, after all.
The idea of jobs for veterans has its appeal, even so. Imagine Gerhard Berger employing Jacques Villeneuve as Toro Rosso’s unofficial mouthpiece – Jacques would be happy being able to agitate everyone with outrageous statements and Gerhard would have a great laugh, being the practical joker that he is. Juan Pablo Montoya could be taken on by Super Aguri as a balance for their eternal Japanese optimism – and he could carry on biting off the heads of newsmen.
We could even extend the concept and replace Max Mosley with Alessandro Zanardi, thereby changing the face of the FIA from grim dictator to open and friendly. And he would be a constant reminder to everyone of the dangers of swapping to American oval racing. Damon Hill could be made lifetime president of the Grand Prix Drivers Association and continue his quest to be taken seriously.
Johnny Herbert would be the obvious choice for organizer of the FIA awards ceremony at the end of the year – that would be a real knees-up, instead of the pompous round of self-congratulatory speeches of old. And Heinz Harald Frentzen could be employed as his sidekick, never saying anything but smiling, smiling, smiling.
But most of all, I’d like to cheat a little and have Bernie Ecclestone replaced by a non-driver: Murray Walker. I can see it now…
“Of course you can have a Grand Prix… No, wait a minute, where did you say you were from? Brunei? Well, yes, I think we can manage that… Ummm, where is Brunei anyway?”
“My bet for champion next year? Oh that has to be Kimi Alonso, without a doubt. Or maybe Jenson Hamilton – after all, you just can’t rule out those Renaults, you know…”
Well, a little confusion can go a long way in any sport.