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  Friday, 26 July, 2002, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Hakkinen announces retirement
David Coulthard teases Mika Hakkinen at the Monaco Grand Prix about the amount of weight he has put on while away from F1, as Kimi Raikkonen looks on
Hakkinen (centre) wants to spend time with his family
Double Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen has announced his retirement from the sport as his McLaren team revealed their driver line-up will stay the same in 2003.

The Finn and his McLaren team said last year that Hakkinen was only taking a sabbatical from the sport.

But on Friday he confirmed that he would not be returning to the cockpit, as exclusively predicted last year by BBC Sport Online.

McLaren also confirmed one of F1's worst-kept secrets this year - that David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen would stay on as team-mates.


My visit to the Monaco Grand Prix this year made it clear to me that I had made the right decision to retire
Mika Hakkinen

Hakkinen said that his break had given him time to consider his future with a clear head and that he had decided to commit himself to spending more time with his family.

He said: "I would say the decision was more about the time I want to spend with the family, to see [my son] Hugo growing and spend time with my wife [Erja].

"And simply also I didn't want to hurt myself.

"I've been through so much in my career in F1, particularly in 1995, and I did achieve so much that I thought that it's not worth it any more to push your luck further."

Hakkinen came close to death in a crash at the Australian Grand Prix in 1995, suffering a fractured skull.

And some heavy accidents in his last season in 2001 had given Hakkine pause for thought.

"At the Monaco Grand Prix in 2001 I informed Ron [Dennis, McLaren's boss] that I wanted to stop.

"But he wanted to make sure that I made the right decision and gave me the opportunity to take a sabbatical.

"Once I had spoken with Ron a huge weight came off my shoulders, I really enjoyed the rest of the season and was able to win at Silverstone and Indianapolis.

"At this year's Monaco Grand Prix I wasn't sure how I was going to feel but the visit made it clear to me that I had made the right decision and I told Ron that I was going to retire."

Coulthard, who still has a year to run on his contract, will be heading into his eighth season with McLaren.

He said: "It is an important factor for the team and the drivers to have continuity.

"Kimi and myself have been developing a good relationship during the 2002 season, and I look forward to the continuation of this next year.

"The value the team places on stability is clear as my partnership with Mika was the longest driver pairing in F1, and I would like to wish my old team mate a happy retirement with his family."

Austrian Alexander Wurz will continue as the team's test and reserve driver.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Peter Slater
"Friday's announcement is merely a confirmation"
Mika Hakkinen
"It's time to stop"
In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

News and analysis

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
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