Hakkinen hints at DTM move

UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded from 'false' all the way to 'fact' today. Mika Hakkinen has signed to race in Germany's DTM Touring Car Championship. He recently showed interest in returning to racing and tested a Mercedes DTM car. A successful test, during which he proved he still has the knack, earned him a full-time return to the cockpit next season. Hakkinen, who first raced in the DTM for Mercedes in a one-off drive in 2001, said: "After the end of my Formula One career in 2001 I soon realized that I'm not ready to retire for good. It was just the right moment that Mercedes offered me to test a DTM car. I saw immediately that I still enjoy racing very much and during the test three weeks ago, my lap times were at the same level as those of the touring car specialists. I know of course that I first have to get used to a DTM car to be able to fight with the front-runners. I look forward to an interesting season with exciting battles – against my former Formula One colleagues as well as the young DTM drivers – and to see again my fans." 10/29/04 This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' According to Mercedes' Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug, Mika Häkkinen will not return to racing in DTM. Haug denied the Fin has a contract with Mercedes to race in DTM next season. "Mika has tested the DTM car earlier this month, but that's the only thing he did," Haug said. Earlier this week German magazine 'Bild' confirmed Häkkinen would be racing in DTM in the upcoming season for Mercedes. According to the German magazine Häkkinen won't be paid a salary of two million euro per season. 10/28/04 We are hearing that Mercedes will pay Hakkinen $2 million euros per year to drive for their DTM team. 10/27/04 The German CNN partner is reporting that Hakkinen has agreed to drive for Mercedes in the DTM series. The papers are not all signed but both sides have agreed in principle. 08/09/04 Former F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen could replace Jenson Button at BAR, who is off to Williams. Finland's national broadcaster YLE quoted Hakkinen as saying: "There is no smoke without fire. "At this moment I don't want to comment more on the issue, especially as discussions around BAR are so hot."

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