Tuesday May 15th, 2001
McLaren's technical director Adrian Newey revealed on Tuesday Mika Hakkinen was to blame for stalling his car on the grid of the Austrian Grand Prix last Sunday.
Two-time champion Hakkinen, enduring a nightmare season after having scored only four points in six races, was left stranded when the lights went off at the A1-Ring, and the Finn himself was unsure if it was his fault or a problem with the car's launch control system.
But speaking to the Autosport.com, Newey confirmed the driver was to blame.
"It was related to the launch control," Newey said. "I think it's basically a human systems interface problem, not an engineering error but I think, how can I put it, that it comes down to the fact that the system was not operated properly.
"A racing driver, by the time he gets to Formula One, has been practising a normal start for years and here we're talking about only the second start on these systems. Obviously everybody has practised in testing, but it's the same old thing that it is completely different in the heat of the moment."
Hakkinen, who had already stalled his car at the Brazilian Grand Prix, lies now 38 points behind championship leader Michael Schumacher and 34 behind his own teammate David Coulthard.