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When Michael Schumacher almost signed for McLaren starting a dream pairing alongside Mika Hakkinen in 1999

Janmeyjay Shukla
|Thu Aug 11 2022

Seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher could have been his arch-rival Mika Hakkinen’s partner in McLaren for the 1999 season

Mika Hakkinen and Schumacher were great rivals going wheel to wheel for the world championship during the late 1990s. The rivalry continued in the 2000s until Hakkinen’s retirement.

According to an F1 insider, there were secret negotiations between McLaren and Schumacher for a potential seat for the 1999 season.

Dream lineup of the seven times world champion and Mika Hakkinen

Michael Schumacher rose through the ranks of karting with the support of Mercedes. Coincidently, the team actually supplied the engine to McLaren in the 1090s.

After signing for Ferrari in 1996, Schumacher was not happy with the car but was hopeful that the team could match McLaren and Williams. However, there could have been change of plans if the German negotiation with McLaren was successful.

According to former Mercedes-Benz Vice President Norbert Haug, the team did negotiate with Schumacher for a contract. Adrian Newey’s designed McLaren car was the prime attraction.

Also Read: When Michael Schumacher ignored his former $50 million worth of teammate

Michael Schumacher wanted the number one status in McLaren

The seven times world champion had demands which were difficult to fulfil from McLaren’s end. With Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard on the seat, Schumacher’s demand was for the number one status.

Norbert Haug stated: “In 1999, Schumacher wanted to switch to McLaren-Mercedes. That’s why there was a secret meeting between him, his manager Willi Weber, Ron Dennis, and Mercedes boss Jürgen Hubbert. It was during the Monaco GP in the former Beach Plaza Hotel (today Le Meridien) in 1998.”

The negotiations fell through, and the rest, as they say, is history. Schumacher would go on to win 5 world championships with Ferrari and became one of the greatest F1 drivers.

Also Read: When Lewis Hamilton had to change the tires of his $77,000 car on a gas station

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