Michael Schumacher: 7-time champ could have partnered Mika Hakkinen at McLaren

hakkinen schumacher

Former Mercedes vice-president Norbert Haug has revealed that Michael Schumacher had some secret talks over the potential to join McLaren and partner arch-rival Mika Hakkinen.

Haug was involved with the McLaren team in the late 90s and early 00s with them backed by Mercedes power as they engaged in a number of titanic title tussles with Michael Schumacher and Ferrari.

Hakkinen v Schumacher is one of the most iconic rivalries we've seen in Formula 1 with them going head-to-head in 1998 and 2000 in particular, with both claiming a crown apiece, whilst Mika also took the 1999 championship ahead of Eddie Irvine in the other Ferrari after Schumi's leg-break early in that season.

The prospect of the two being in the same team is the stuff of fantasy but, according to Haug, there was a chance - perhaps only a slim one it must be said - that the pair could have teamed up at McLaren.

Speaking to the Beyond the Grid podcast, Haug revealed rather how it could have incredibly come about:

“I knew Michael from when he was a Formula 3 driver when I was a journalist, and he came to Mercedes before I was there – he was already there as a junior.

“We were fierce competitors, but at the race track and in the paddock, we always had a good relationship.

mika michael

“I joked that we needed to do it [race] together some time. There were some secret negotiations in 1998 but it never came together.

“In theory, it could have happened, but it didn’t come together – it is what it is. It wasn’t something that was completely impossible because we [McLaren] were really good in ’98 with the new formula, Adrian Newey car, so it was attractive for any driver.

“Michael could have won a championship earlier on, he could have won in ’99 without his accident, we could have won 2000 without a car failure.

“It was a great period of time and it was a very intense fight, best described with the 2000 race in Spa, with the two guys [battling].”

schumacher hakkinen

Can you imagine it? It would have been spectacular seeing the two greats vying for supremacy in the same team but, in many ways, we're also glad it didn't happen in the end.

Ferrari and Schumacher's dynasty would have never happened as they conquered all in the early 2000s whilst we'd never have seen the epic duels between two of the great teams in the sport as they went wheel-to-wheel regularly for supremacy.

It would have been brilliant to watch the pair duel in the same garage but, at the same time, we can hardly complain at what we got instead for those years.

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