Write off Mika at your peril, says Haug

Norbert Haug has warned Formula 1 not to write off Mika Hakkinen's world championship ambitions just yet. Even though Hakkinen's own manager, former champion Keke Rosberg, has told the Finn his hopes for this season are dead, the Mercedes motorsport boss is adamant Hakkinen can still things around

Write off Mika at your peril, says Haug

Hakkinen has only scored four points from five races while Michael Schumacher has 36 points and David Coulthard 28.

"I think differently to Keke," said Haug in Austria. "It is difficult to make up 32 points, but with 12 races to go nothing is impossible.

"We have seen several things in Formula 1. At the beginning of this season, everyone said Ferrari is quicker than everyone else, but that has turned around. Then people said Michelin will not perform, but they won a race. Remember last year, Michael had won three races when Mika had only scored two points, so let Mika win three times soon and Michael not score a lot of points and he will be there.

"In theory, Mika can win 120 points. It is not likely he will win all the races, but it is not impossible. That just shows you how much 34 points are worth. It is not the end of the world and Mika will certainly try and turn it around.

"He is fully motivated so we should wait and see what happens. If we can give him the package he will win races for sure."

Haug added there is no tension between Hakkinen's team mate David Coulthard and McLaren boss Ron Dennis. The two were at loggerheads at the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago after Dennis accused Coulthard of having "brain fade" because his car stalled on the formation lap of the race.

"We have to realise that Ron is sometimes criticised for not being direct enough," continued Haug. "In that case he just spoke his mind. He was wrong as it turned out. David answered in the way you heard. They shook hands and sorted it out there and then."

Haug also dismissed suggestions that the British team still favours Hakkinen, who has won two titles for them.

Haug added: "It doesn't not mean that David does not get the same support as Mika. He has the same equipment and is treated the same way. Look at his performances this year. We have full confidence in both our drivers."

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