Mika Hakkinen has expressed his doubts on Daniel Ricciardo’s potential comeback to the Formula One grid in 2024. Ricciardo is scheduled to take a break from the sport in 2023.
Mika Hakkinen, a former Formula One world champion, believes that Daniel Riccardo shouldn’t return to the sport if it’s possible that he won’t be on the grid for the 2019 season.
Ricciardo’s contract with McLaren is being terminated one year earlier than planned after a disappointing performance in 2022. The Australian driver has expressed his desire to find a reserve driver role with the goal of returning to the grid in 2024, but there are no realistic options anywhere else on the grid for 2023.
After winning the Formula One Drivers’ Championship in 1998 and 1999, Mika Hakkinen suffered from a loss of form in 2001, which prompted him to announce that he would take a sabbatical in 2002. This sabbatical eventually turned into Hakkinen’s full-time retirement, as he was never seen on the F1 grid again after his announcement.
In light of the fact that Hakkinen himself is a former Formula One driver who has since left the sport, Hakkinen believes that it will be challenging for Ricciardo to persuade people of his potential to compete at the highest level after 2024.
According to what Hakkinen said in an interview with The Race, “If Daniel decides to have one year off, from experience I know that once you leave this sport typically you shouldn’t come back.”
“I believe that my situation was a little bit different since I had already won the world championship twice, and I had accomplished what I set out to do.
“The circumstances are different for Daniel. His performance has been getting worse, and he’s not even trying his hardest, so many are starting to question whether or not he’s actually quick enough.
“That could make it challenging to take a year out and then come back, because if you’re not quick enough, there’s always some type of explanation, some excuse,” the speaker said.
“I get the impression that he is not communicating this information to the media, to the fans, or to the squad in a very straightforward manner. That’s a little unsettling; you need to figure out why you can’t maximize your performance to the same degree as your teammate.
A break for Hakkinen ultimately led to his retirement
Hakkinen added that the all-encompassing nature of several years spent competing in F1 championship battles had taken their toll, and he realized that he would not be able to give the commitment that would be required to once again compete at the highest level. Hakkinen will not be returning to the sport of Formula One.
According to Hakkinen, “I did recognize after three or four months that I was clearly feeling like “no way I wanted to go back there” when the [2002 season] started and I was in Monaco or wherever.”
“It demands an enormous amount of force from your body as well as a significant amount of energy,” both physically and mentally. I was aware that if I did things in that manner, I would be permanently barred from returning, regardless of how much time I took off. I was already aware of this fact when we were halfway through the season; I will not be returning.
“You can’t perform out there while wondering’should I retire or not?’,” he told them. You can’t let up for even a second. You have to give it your all.
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