Lauda Says Hakkinen Should Leave McLaren
Tuesday May 30th, 2000
World champion Mika Hakkinen should quit McLaren at the end of this season to find fresh motivation in Formula One, former world champion Niki Lauda was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
"If he wants to carry on racing with full motivation, then he has to leave McLaren," the Austrian told Germany's Die Welt daily newspaper in an interview.
"I can speak from my own experience: I left Ferrari after four years because I got fed up," said Lauda, who won the Formula One title in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari and 1984 after moving to McLaren.
Finland's Hakkinen, who has driven for McLaren since 1993, has denied persistent rumours he would quit the team at the end of the season.
But Lauda said there could be a grain of truth behind the paddock gossip: "It would certainly match the impression he has created," he said.
Lauda also said that Hakkinen and Ferrari's championship leader Michael Schumacher, as well as the cars they were driving, were equal in performance - but the German had "sharper elbows" and greater mental toughness.
"When someone being lapped sees him (Schumacher) in his rear-view mirror, then he makes room," he said.
"With Hakkinen that is less the case...And when the cars are equal that can make all the difference.