Atlas F1 News Service

Hakkinen Not Optimistic for Melbourne

Monday February 26th, 2001

Two-time world champion and last year's runner-up Mika Hakkinen believes the McLaren team are not fully prepared for the first round of the 2001 season, the Australian Grand Prix.

However, Hakkinen and his team, who have been suffering badly from reliability problems during pre-season testing with their new Mercedes-powered MP4-16, will overcome the problems and fight for the title, according to the Finn.

"We have had far too many problems and that doesn't make me optimistic for Melbourne," admitted Hakkinen.

"I have complete confidence in McLaren and I know that the car will enable me to fight for the title. Even if I lose points to Ferrari in Melbourne, it won't be a problem.

"I am confident about this year's world championship because after a winter break in which I became father, I feel pretty good."

Both Hakkinen and teammate David Coulthard retired with mechanical problems at last year's Australian Grand Prix.

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