High Performance Talks: Mika Häkkinen


High Performance Talks is our weekly interview series focusing on improving performance through better health and wellbeing. In the following ten weeks, you will hear fascinating stories from racing drivers, top executives, entrepreneurs, university professors and our very own Hintsa experts.

Mika Häkkinen, the Formula 1 World Champion from 1998 and 1999, has been working with Hintsa Performance to improve both his athletic and business potential since 1997. In the first episode of our series, we sat down with Mika to discuss his learnings over the years and what he feels is required to reach the top.

Tell us about when you heard about Aki Hintsa and Hintsa Performance for the first time?

“The first time I heard about the Hintsa Method, or if we talk about Aki himself, was already quite a few years ago, about 1997. But of course, over the years Aki developed the program.

For me, the most fascinating thing was the science in it. It wasn’t the typical: “let's put your running shoes on and let's measure a bit your heart rate, and OK this is what we’ll we do." No, it went further into the human being.”

When and how did you start implementing Hintsa Performance’s methods?

“Already during my active career in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. But I remember Aki was always moving forward with his ideas, non-stop. He was always curious about new technology; how we can make the sports person, the Formula 1 driver, better. Or how we can collect more data and information on making a specific person become a better athlete. Not just physically with muscles, but also better in the brain. How we can develop their brain in a way that they can be young women, or young men, confident in life.

I learned that 80 percent of your success when you are racing, is your inner strength and whether you have confidence. That is a very important part! And rest of it is muscle. The more you can build up your strength is always good, but the head is more complicated. That's why we need people like Aki, who have great communication methods, and great science teams working on the methods, to make them perfect.”

How did the Hintsa model improve you as a race car driver?

“Specifically in the early stages of my career, and working with Aki, it was all about putting my mind on a level where I didn’t have to think about some areas that I didn’t have time for. Things - and this may sound a bit strange - that are emotional.

Because when you are in motor racing and racing a Formula 1 car, you don't want to think about emotional things. In your head you don’t want to be emotional, you want to be a tough guy. You don't have to show it on the outside like: “Hey, I’m a tough guy", but inside your head and inside the car you need to be a tough guy. And all these emotional things around you, they have to be eliminated, so that you can focus and don't have to worry about those things.”

How do you use Hintsa’s methods in your daily life today?

"I don’t use them anymore for racing, but I do use them to be better in business. For example, to find better concentration, to have far more energy. These types of things we're working on. I find it all very exciting. In a sense, being in business is very much the same thing as driving a racing car; you have to be better and better, all the time. I find that very impressive and fascinating."