Jean Todt: drivers over 35 are "past it"

Jean Todt, Ferrari's team principal, has said that Mika Hakkinen will struggle if he returns to F1 after his year out. Speaking to University students at the Parma Institute in Italy on Friday, Todt also said he thought any driver over 35 was...

Jean Todt, Ferrari's team principal, has said that Mika Hakkinen will struggle if he returns to F1 after his year out. Speaking to University students at the Parma Institute in Italy on Friday, Todt also said he thought any driver over 35 was "past it."

"I think it can take just one year's rest to make an eventual return difficult," he said, "I also think that once you are past 35 or 36-years-old it is hard to stay very competitive."

In F1 these days the slant seems to be toward the youngsters, but both Niki Lauda and Alain Prost took time out from racing and returned to take Championship titles. Hakkinen is adamant that he will return and says he will only drive for McLaren, but with the team taking Kimi Raikkonen on board will there be room for Hakkinen ?

Todt's comments about driver age seem to be true in some cases, Jean Alesi retired at the end of this season, bring the oldest driver at 37, a fact that the press never seemed to tire of reminding him. Eddie Irvine now takes over as F1's "veteran" and has already been plagued by rumours of retirement. The Irishman, however, says he has no intention of quitting. Speaking on his own website, Irvine states "I Am Not, Repeat Not, Retiring! I think that at the end of next year's F1 season, all the grand prix journalists should be forced to take a holiday, as some of them obviously need it."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Mika Hakkinen , Kimi Raikkonen , Niki Lauda , Alain Prost , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , McLaren