Mika Hakkinen revitalises Formula 1 links to mentor rising F2 star

Sam Cooper
Mika Hakkinen

Mika Hakkinen has previously tutored Valtteri Bottas.

Mika Hakkinen is back involved with Formula 1 as he tries to help rising F2 star Kush Maini to the sport’s very top.

Hakkinen left Formula 1 in 2001 and 22 years later, he is back but this time instead of driving, he is to become a mentor.

The Finn has teamed up with Indian F2 driver Maini and is helping the young star on his way to F1.

Mika Hakkinen continues mentoring job after Valtteri Bottas success

Maini is 23 but already has plenty of racing on his CV. He started out his career in Italian F4 in 2016 before moving up to F3 in 2022. This season he has taken a step up again to drive in Formula 2 for Campos Racing and is currently 11th in the table with one grand prix weekend left to go.

Speaking after joining up with Maini, Hakkinen was clear what the goal was.

“F1 is our objective,” Hakkinen said.

“I want all Indians to know Kush Maini, I want everybody in India cheering him. I want them to feel that he’s going to be a winner in Formula 1”

It is not the first time Hakkinen has delved into mentoring having guided fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas on his way to the grid.

Maini said his approach would be “a lot more structured” now that Hakkinen was on board and that having one of his idols backing him was “a massive weapon.”

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“I think from next year, my approach and that of my team is going to be a lot more structured thanks to Mika,” says Maini.

“Having a trainer who’s looking after your nutrition at the track, a mind coach looking after anything you’re going through on a race weekend. Basically the way Mika works is you narrow down everything to the point where the driver just has one job.

“I’ve watched Mika since I was young and I know everything he has achieved in this sport, so just for him to believe that I could reach Formula 1 shows that we’ve done something right in these last 15 years.

“It’s a massive weapon you have in your arsenal when you have Mika Hakkinen standing behind you!”

Maini is the younger brother of Arjun Maini, who raced for two seasons in F2 before briefly being a development driver for Haas.

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