Walking—and Driving—the Talk: Mika Hakkinen and Johnnie Walker promote responsible drinking
Formula One double world champion Mika Hakkinen took to the streets of Makati this month to send a strong message for responsible drinking. The message: never drink and drive.

Mika Hakkinen is one of the most recognizable F1 superstars from the late 1990s and early 2000s. His race and championship battles with Michael Schumacher have become the stuff of legends. He retired near the peak of his prowess to spend more time with his family. Now most of his time and effort are spent with the campaign to promote driving safety, primarily for the advocacy to never drink and drive.

After retirement from F1, Mika has tried his hand at DTM racing and is now a brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker. Together they promote responsible drinking, urging motorists to never drink and drive. Looking fit and relaxed in a black shirt with discreet Johnnie Walker logos on the collar, the double world champion joined us for a look back at his career and an insight as to what motivates him these days.

Alvin Uy - What is a good age to get into karting as a starting point for a serious career in racing?

I would not have been a Formula One driver if I did not go into go-karting. I would not have created a racing career without starting in go-karts. With that you learn the rules and technique of driving. With that you learn the skills, your talent and understand what is the idea of competition You learn to win and to lose, with that as a child you carry that when you are in the bigger formulas. Every age is good in my opinion but it depends what is the purpose of the exercise. If it is just for fun it doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s a good exercise for the body and mind. It relaxes you and its good fun! If you want to put your child to karting and its going to be a career, you will have to start around 6 or 7 years old but not as an absolute rule.

AU - Are your children into the sport?

Absolutely! My son Hugo is racing already. He started around 6 years old. My daughter, who is 6 years old now and she also wants to do racing. But I am not so keen on that (laughs)

Jason K. Ang - Will you allow your children to go all out into racing as a career?

Well, I am a very protective person. But this winter I might put my daughter to try racing and karting and see how she likes it. I hope she doesn’t like it too much! (laughs)

JA – On a more serious note, just last month we had some fatalities in motorsports - Marco Simoncelli in MotoGP and Dan Wheldon the Indy 500 driver, despite all the advances in safety. What are your thoughts on this?

Yes. It is always hard to find the words when a driver gets killed. It’s always hard to find the words to say anything. Very often people they want to say the words. They wake up and they say hold on, this is dangerous, we have to do something. But it is too late. The reality is that you constantly have to improve on safety, whatever the sport. You have to focus on safety. Like we do with the campaign never drink and drive. We keep going year after year, we create new ideas to motivate the people to understand that way. We want to create the emotion and feeling to understand what is this and to make the public understand the seriousness of this message.

We always have to create new ways to improve safety and in Formula One racing since the death of (Roland) Ratzenberger, Ayrton Senna; even I had a bad accident, so they really started developing safety features in Formula One. That way it is not only the fastest cars on the race track but also the safest in motor racing to make sure the drivers are more secured.

AU - Were your personal experiences one of the main reasons why you joined the safety campaign with Johnnie Walker?

In my career I had a number of accidents for different reasons. Tires falling off, steering wheel comes off, completely amazing situations where I just become a passenger in my car not being able to control. And it had been very painful experiences and so I know what it means by not being in control of my car. So when you drink and drive you are not in control. So when I was thinking about all these connections with my experiences of driving it made me to say yes. I want to be part of this campaign and this journey. I want to make people aware of this danger. I had a big accident in 1995, they were never really pleasant. Whether big ones or small ones, they always leave you a scar. I don’t mean the physical one but a mental one. You have to work very hard to get over it. You just have to be strong. “Keep Walking”!

Winning the Monaco Grand Prix in 1998 was definitely the highlight of my racing career. Because I have been living in Monaco for 20 years and it is my hometown. It is a small city, and everyone knows each other. They know me, I know everybody. It doesn’t matter if it is the police, fire brigade or the people at the restaurants, even private people. I know the system there. So it was great to win over there.

AU – You made your famous overtaking move at the Spa. Is that your favorite track?

I would say the Spa in Belgium would be the most exciting track for me. It is the most enjoyable track for me. It is the longest track in Formula One. It is 7 kilometers long. The circuit is up and down, big differences in the height of the track. It is not the reason for my answer but it really is such a great circuit. That grand prix has a very relaxed atmosphere.

For the newer Formula tracks I could see that they look quite fun. High speed chicanes, you have to be really precise with the car, and with the line you are taking. But when I look at the new circuits, it is always difficult. The circuits are always look dirty and slippery. I would say Abu Dabi would be a nice circuit. It is a nice place. I think India also would be quite interesting.

JA – Michael Schumacher is still racing in Formula One. He is probably your greatest rival and have you ever thought that you could still be doing Formula One racing?

No. I have not thought about it that way. But I could do Formula One. But in which level of commitment for me to able to perform in Formula One? That is a different story. I have three children. I have fantastic campaigns like the one I am doing with Johnnie Walker, with Mercedes-Benz, with Hermes, taking part in driver’s management, so I have a lot of things in my plate, very enjoyable things. So do I have the energy to do Formula One to the level of what I would like to do? The answer is no.

AU – Schumacher was quoted as respecting you the most among all the Formula One drivers. What are your thoughts on this?

If you would ask me that question many years ago, I would have smiled and say really? (laughs hard) But the time has gone past and the more you have time to think things, it is better. We had great competition in driving, we have great respect to each other’s performances, the style of working and what we do with the teams. We had a great fight in the race track without any collisions. Michael and I know why. And I am very glad to hear it from Michael because I feel the same way. Particularly now, because we are both part of Mercedes-Benz. I am its ambassador globally and I am the ambassador for AMG in China, and Michael is working for Mercedes-Benz as well. So it is good teamwork.

AU – What is your daily driver back home?

I have three kids and I need a big space. I drive a Mercedes-Benz GL myself. I travel quite a lot from Monaco to Italy and I have thousands of kilometers I need to go so I need a car which is good for the space. I recommend the GL. It is a fantastic car.

AU – David Coulthard was here a few weeks back. He is also a Mercedes guy. Your thoughts about him?

We rode together in Mille Miglia and David is such a fantastic personality. He is a funny guy. We had a good time in a car, we have known each other for many, many years. Why was he here?

AU – He was here to promote TW Steel Watch in Manila

Fantastic. Here, I got one myself. (showed the watch he was wearing)

By Jason K. Ang and Alvin Uy
No gallery images uploaded for this article.

Features articles

100 Great Years, 10 Amazing Fords
November 4, 2003
15 Minutes with Fernando Alonso
November 2, 2004
15 Minutes with Jurgen Banken
October 19, 2006
2010 North American International Auto Show
February 17, 2010
2012 Ford Focus Revealed
February 5, 2010
21st Century British Icons
July 2, 2001
4 x 4 = Fun
October 21, 2001
50 Years of the Ponton
November 4, 2003
A Bold New Direction
November 1, 2007
A Chery a Day
August 2, 2007
A Closer Look at Perfection: Lexus (2009)
January 26, 2009
A Sports Car on Your Wrist
January 17, 2006
A Tale of Two Cities: Quezon City vs. Marikina
December 12, 1999
A Tale of Two Supercars: LaFerrari and McLaren P1
April 22, 2013
A Walk Among Rolling Legends: Ford Day 2003
January 21, 2004
ABS: Anti-Lock Braking System
February 20, 2000
All Guns Blazing: Dodge Caliber (2007)
October 18, 2007
All Systems Go
January 31, 2006
Amazing Destination
January 1, 2003
Amazing Oz
June 13, 2003
America's Child: PT Cruiser
June 11, 2000
American Dreams
September 22, 2006
American Gods
April 10, 2005
American Invasion
September 1, 1999
An Icon. Reborn. Ford Shelby GT500KR
February 19, 2008
An X-citing Make Over
January 23, 2005
Another Kind of Test Drive
December 4, 2002
Around Bicol in 3 Days
August 11, 2004
Auto China 2010
May 29, 2010
Auto Louvre: Mercedes Benz Museum
May 12, 2004
Back to Cool
September 11, 2005
Back to the Future
November 4, 2003
Barely Legal
August 28, 2005
Battle of the (One-Point) Sixes
September 18, 2000
Beholding the Beauty of Bohol
April 8, 2005
Best of the Decade
February 17, 2010
Blue Oval Wonders
June 11, 2003
BMW Motor Sports
July 19, 2001
BMW X1 Launch
February 10, 2010
BMW's Future
July 19, 2001
Breathless in Bohol: Ford Focus Summer Drive
June 30, 2013
Bright Lights, Big Show: 26th Bangkok Motor Show
March 31, 2005
Bright Spot: Manila International Auto Show
April 20, 2009
Buying Seconds
July 7, 2003
Can't Leave Home Without It
December 23, 2005
Car Country
June 11, 2000
Carbon Fiber
July 12, 1999
Carbon-based Lifeform: McLaren MP4-12C
February 15, 2011
Care and Feeding of a Car-Crazed Youngster
September 29, 2010
Cars of the Snake
February 10, 2013
Cars We Can Have: Five cars to look forward to in 2011
January 3, 2011
Cars We Can Have: Plus six more for 2011
January 4, 2011
Caveat Emptor: How to avoid buying a flood-damaged car
October 5, 2009
Changing All Four Wheels: Audi A4 Quattro vs. Subaru Impreza WRX
December 18, 2000
Changing Perception: The Foton-Beijing Experience
June 14, 2010
Changing the Rules?: Honda City Launch
January 12, 2009
Chevrolet Colorado: Global Debut in Thailand
March 22, 2011
Chevrolet Cruze at the WTCC Finale
December 16, 2009
Christmas at Ground Zero
January 21, 2002
Civic in the City
January 1, 2007
Climbing Everest
October 14, 2004
Dear Santa, I've Been a Very Good Boy
January 9, 2005
Diamond in the Tough
March 25, 2003
Diesel power: Fast and Furious 6 stars visit Manila
May 19, 2013
Drive the Future
May 29, 2006
Drive Time for Dad: Father's Day Gifts
June 17, 2008
Drive Your Life
April 4, 2006
Driving Business Class: BMW X5
May 11, 2007
Driving the Future
October 14, 2004
Easy Driver: Audi A8
February 3, 2003
Election Garbage
April 15, 2001
Electric Dreams: Toyota Prius and Honda Insight
February 20, 2000
Era Defining
February 25, 2001
Escapist Fare: Escape V6
April 9, 2004
Evolution Revolution
July 9, 2000
Excise Tax in a Nutshell
November 4, 2003
Exclusive Access
February 15, 2006
Factory Tuned Perfection
March 10, 2004
Fantastic Fords
July 26, 2005
Fast, Frugal and Fun
October 14, 2004
Fire and Ice: Koenigsegg CC
July 7, 2003
Fire and Ice: Honda Civic SiR vs. Subaru Impreza Turbo
November 18, 2000
For Your Eyes Only
October 17, 1999
Formula One 2001
March 12, 2001
Formula Won
January 1, 2003
Frisky Business: The Joy of Porsche at the Clark Speedway
February 13, 2012
From Gravel to Garage: Subaru Impreza STi-22B vs. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI
June 20, 1999
Fueling the Future
November 1, 2005
Fun, Family and Ford
December 8, 2005
Fun, Sun and the Honda City
June 8, 2004
Funk Master
November 15, 2007
Future Glimpses: GM at the Shanghai World Expo
September 7, 2010
Future Summit
December 12, 2006
Future's Past
October 13, 2003
Game Time!
August 9, 2003
Gefahrliche Kurve
February 16, 2002
General Assembly
November 3, 2002
Get a Grip
October 1, 2002
Giving It 107 Percent
August 1, 2002
Go the Distance
April 9, 2004
Going for Global Domination
April 16, 2000
Goodyear DuraPlus Tire Launch in Thailand
June 29, 2009
Great Strides
May 25, 2009
Green With Envy: Ford's Green Initiative
April 5, 2010
Heavenly Hangzhou
February 13, 2005
Honda Accord V6 is Tops
March 3, 2005
Honda S2000
November 10, 1998!
August 2, 2006
Horses Run Wild
April 20, 2003
Hot Heads, Cool Ride
May 29, 2006
Hydrogen Fast
September 6, 2007
Imagination in Motion
April 21, 2008
In God's Country
November 8, 2006
In the Hunt
January 31, 2006
Is Your Car Safe?
March 19, 2005
It's the Honda S2000 Show
May 13, 2000
Jewelry for Your Car
March 19, 2005
Karting in Clark
August 15, 2001
Kinetic Art
August 2, 2007
Less in Truly More: Kia Borrego
February 19, 2008
Limited Beauty: SL 63 AMG
May 8, 2008
Limo 911: Porsche Panamera on Track
March 7, 2011
Lincoln Goes Green
January 19, 2009
Live from Bangkok: Motor Show First Photos
March 24, 2011
Living Under the Three-Pointed Star: Karl Kling
January 21, 2004
Look Hard: Subaru Impreza (2007)
November 28, 2007
Mad Germans
February 5, 1999
Madly Maniac Mercedes: Mercedes-Benz CL600 2003
October 1, 2002
Magic Carpet
February 25, 2001
Make or Break: Ford Focus (2008)
October 30, 2008
Manila International Auto Show 2010
May 10, 2010
Manila International Auto Show 2011 Highlights and Fast Facts
April 14, 2011
Maximum Speed Limit
December 2, 1999
Mazda 6 2.3L: Car of the Year
April 4, 2006
McLaren F1: A Look Back
January 1, 1999
Mean Dream Machine
January 18, 2000
Mercedes E 350 Coupe Launch
October 26, 2009
Motion @ the Transport Show 99
May 15, 1999
Motion Blur
November 10, 1998
Motion Blur
December 10, 1998
Motion Blur: 2004
December 16, 2003
motioncars Christmas gift guide part 2: books, blocks, and an F1 trip!
December 21, 2010 Christmas gift guide 2010, Part 1: Model cars
December 6, 2010 Christmas gift guide, part 3: Gifts for your significant other (your car)
December 23, 2010
Mountain Goat Goes to the Movies
June 5, 2005
Ms. Benz and Me
April 12, 2005
Muscular Restraint
January 31, 2006
Nature of Forces
December 4, 2002
New Subaru Legacy and Outback Launched
November 16, 2009
No Boundaries: Ford 4x4
May 26, 2002
No Roads Lead to Roam: Mud wrestling with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler
July 18, 2011
Northern Exposure: Honda Jazz (2008)
October 20, 2008
Not Your Average Joes: All-New Grandis and Montero Sport
February 5, 2005
Object of Envy
July 5, 2008
Off the Beaten Road: 2000 Motorshow International Manila
November 18, 2000
One Hot Future
September 30, 2006
Passport to Punishment: 2011 Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience
September 13, 2011
Passport to Punishment: 2011 Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience
October 7, 2011
Perfecto Quattro
July 4, 2005
Personal Fun Runner
September 7, 2003
Porsche Cayenne
July 2, 2002
Pump Up the Jazz
July 26, 2005
Quick Flicks
February 9, 2004
Quick Time
January 17, 2006
Race Driver 101: Driving the TRS-Ford Focus PTCC Race Car
January 5, 2011
Rare Royalty: 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300
October 13, 2003
Red Heat: Lexus IS F (2007)
December 6, 2007
Red Storm Rising: 2003 Enzo Ferrari
August 1, 2002
Reinventing the 4x4
April 16, 2000
Remembrance of Things Past
August 9, 2003
Ride of the Valkyries
November 3, 2002
Rock Your Senses: 2nd Manila Auto Show
April 4, 2006
Roush Hour
September 30, 2006
Rush Hour
September 10, 2001
December 1, 1998
Safety First: Driving Safely with Children
November 2, 2004
Saint or Sinner?
January 8, 2008
Saving the Best for Last: Car of the Year 2006
March 9, 2006
Second's A Charm: Volvo S60 Preview
March 9, 2009
Seeing Red: Ferrari 360 Modena
April 16, 1999
Seeing Zs: BMW Z1, Z3 and Z8
July 19, 2001
Shanghai Rolls
April 25, 2005
Shock and Awe
May 5, 2003
Signs of Life
January 26, 2009
Sky's the Limit
November 8, 2007
Small Wonder
June 8, 2004
Sneak Preview 1999
January 1, 1999
Sneak Preview: 1999
March 1, 1999
Southern Beauty: Cebu Auto Show
July 19, 2006
Southern Exposure: Cebu Auto Show
June 13, 2007
Starting 2013 right: the dream Volkswagen lineup we can have
January 2, 2013
Subaru Returns
July 19, 2006
Subaru's Gamble
January 12, 2009
Super Mini Surprise
August 15, 2000
Swiftly Does It
April 13, 2007
Taking Care of Your Significant Other
October 10, 2005
Taming the Monster
March 10, 2004
Ten Significant
January 21, 2004
Terminator 2
September 30, 2002
The 86 Effect: Driving Toyota’s all-new sports car on track
June 18, 2012
The All-Stars
December 8, 2005
The AUV Killer: 2003 Ford Everest
April 20, 2003
The Blockbuster
September 27, 2005
The Bulls of Chicago Auto Show 2012
March 12, 2012
The Chicago Way
June 8, 2004
The Class of 2005
January 18, 2006
The Class of 2007
January 31, 2008
The Detroit Motorshow 1999
April 16, 1999
The Devil's Ride
June 11, 2003
The Drive of Your Life: Gran Turisimo 4
June 5, 2005
The Driven Shoe
September 24, 2008
The Empire Strikes Back!
March 1, 1999
The Focus on Focus
September 21, 2005
The Heart and Soul of Detroit
February 15, 2006
The Heart of a Super Car: Audi V12 TDI
February 29, 2008
The Imperial Palace Car Museum
June 11, 2000
The Inaugural Manila Motor Show
May 10, 2005
The Italian Job: Maserati Quattroporte and Coupe Cambiocorsa (2006)
September 22, 2006
The ladies of Tokyo Motor Show 2011
December 9, 2011
The Learning Curve: JP Tuason Racing Project
March 13, 2002
The Modern Day Napoleon: Citroen Xsara T4
December 16, 2003
The Most Significant Cars of 2009
February 5, 2010
The People's Choice
September 30, 2007
The Power of Three: Toyota Fortuner, Hilux & Innova (2008)
September 24, 2008
The Right Partner
August 24, 2009
The Rising Suns: Nissan 350Z and Mazda RX-8
May 5, 2003
The Search for Paradise Continues
March 7, 2003
The Silver Arrows History
October 11, 2007
The Spectacle of MIAS 2008
April 21, 2008
The Star for All Seasons: Corolla Altis (2008)
January 31, 2008
The Stars and the Cars: 2004 Singapore Motor Show
January 13, 2005
The Stars that Bind
July 26, 2006
The Tech Corner: Question and Answer
May 15, 1999
The Ten Best Cars of 2004
January 13, 2005
The Ultimate Driving Machine?: BMW Z8 (2000)
December 12, 1999
The World is Toyota's
May 10, 2005
Third's Still A Charm
April 13, 2007
Top 10 Tech Your Next Car Should Have
September 29, 2011
Top Class: Honda Accord (2008)
June 3, 2008
Towering Tokyo
November 15, 2010
Toyota's Sports Car Furture
January 18, 2000
May 18, 2001
True Brit
October 17, 1999
Truly A Global Effort
February 9, 2004
Truly Avant-Garde
August 26, 2008
Truly World Class
July 4, 2005
Unsung Heroes: 5 Great Cars that Deserve Recognition
February 25, 2011
Urban Warrior
January 19, 2009
Vice Grip: Goodyear Eagle F1 Directional 5 and Asymmetric 2
September 1, 2011
Vision SLR
July 12, 1999
Volvo C30 is Philippine CoTY
November 28, 2007
August 15, 2000
August 15, 2000
Walking—and Driving—the Talk: Mika Hakkinen and Johnnie Walker promote responsible drinking
November 24, 2011
Water World: BMW Hydrogen 7
April 26, 2007
We'll Always Have Europe
January 1, 2003
Where Dreams Take You
July 9, 2000
Wonder Cars: The Automotive Stars of San Diego Comic-Con 2011
September 8, 2011
Working the Night Shift: Singapore Grand Prix 2010
September 27, 2010
Worthy Achievement
October 18, 2007
You Say You Want a Revolution?: Toyota Innova (2005)
February 16, 2005
You're Not Michael Schumacher
September 18, 2000