Our story

From the African plains to the Formula 1 paddocks and the highest level of business.

Our philosophy originates in the life’s work of Dr Aki Hintsa, who discovered that sustainable high performance is built on a foundation of wellbeing. This approach has expanded and taken shape over the course of two decades, through the efforts of our multidisciplinary team of experts. Read the amazing story that begins in the African plains and winds through the Formula 1 paddocks and on to the highest levels of business.

The lessons from Ethiopia

In the early 1990s, Dr Aki Hintsa, a specialist in orthopaedic and trauma surgery, was working as a doctor in a poverty-stricken and war-torn Ethiopia. Having long worked as a physician to the Finnish Olympic team, Dr Hintsa was excited by the chance to observe the training routines of elite Ethiopian distance runners. He became intrigued not only by their dominance of this demanding sport but also by the state of life balance they had achieved. The individual who ultimately opened Dr Hintsa’s eyes was long-distance runner and Olympic medalist Haile Gebrselassie.

The Circle of Better Life

Haile’s life was integrated with all elements in his environment geared towards supporting his goals and running ambitions. Dr Hintsa realised that optimal performance derives from a healthy and balanced life. The key to that balance lies in knowing your identity and core motivations. Inspired, Dr Hintsa drew a circle and on the outer layer, he placed the following six elements: physical activity, nutrition, recovery, biomechanics, mental energy and general health. Then in the middle of the circle, he wrote the word “Core” which represents your identity, goals, and control. This model, the Circle of Better Life, would come to define the entire Hintsa philosophy.

From running tracks to F1 circuits

Soon thereafter, the Hintsa philosophy made its impact in a most unlikely arena – Formula 1. When Mika Häkkinen invited Dr Hintsa to assist him and his family in their pursuit of the 1998 World Drivers’ Championship, Aki didn’t even believe that Formula 1 was a valid sporting contest, such was the stark divergence with the running culture he had studied so closely. In winning two World Championships with Mika in 1998 and 1999, he transformed this view and proceeded over nearly two decades to create one of the great untold stories in a sport where very few stories remain untold.

The perfect test laboratory

Dr Hintsa used to call Formula 1 “the most fascinating laboratory” for the Hintsa philosophy. Following Mika Häkkinen’s success, fellow Finn Kimi Räikkönen followed by young superstars Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel shone as Aki’s quiet influence underpinned their approach to racing. Lewis Hamilton’s recent victory in 2021 turned out to be the 16th World Drivers’ Championship for a Hintsa-affiliated driver, and 12th in succession. Over the past seven seasons, 98% of the races and 96% of the available podium places have been won by a Hintsa-affiliated driver.

Companies racing to learn from champions

Realising that the challenges faced by Formula 1 drivers are special, but not unique, Dr Hintsa’s team started seeing more and more demand from business professionals for their coaching services. According to Dr Hintsa’s observations, top athletes and business professionals tackle similar challenges in their work. Hintsa’s team started applying the proven methods from Formula 1 to coaching executives and business professionals in high-pressure environments to achieve sustainable performance. We are currently trusted by over 500 corporate clients including some of the world’s leading consulting, law, finance and tech companies.

The mission remains strong

Over the past two decades, Hintsa Performance has become a global leader in wellbeing and performance coaching. The company is led by Annastiina Hintsa who follows in her father’s footsteps. Our services are trusted by clients ranging from Formula 1 champions and Fortune 500 CEOs to executive teams and global organisations worldwide. We have also been recognised as a thought leader in our field by the World Economic Forum. While a lot has changed over time, the mission started by the Finnish doctor over 20 years ago still remains: to help people live better lives, and consequently perform better – ultimately reaching as many people as possible.

Better life. Better performance.

From the African plains to the Formula 1 paddocks and the highest level of business – the fascinating story of Hintsa Performance spans over two decades.

In her inspirational TED Talk, our CEO Annastiina Hintsa shows how a better life leads to better performance – and why it’s all about optimising, not maximising.