ESPN, not always known for their F1 coverage, seems to think the answer is “yes”. Here’s what we DO know: first, Hamilton fired his father as manager earlier this year. McLaren has been looking after the business interests of their star driver since, but that’s kind of like asking an anaconda to babysit your pet rat; sooner or later, it’s not going to end well. Even McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is advising Hamilton to seek independent management.
Enter Mika Hakkinen, who left F1 as a driver back in 2001. After a few years in DTM, Hakkinen retired from professional driving in 2007 to focus on managing rising-star drivers in Formula 3. Hakkinen has ties to McLaren, and has previously worked with Hamilton on an anti-drunk driving campaign for team sponsor Johnnie Walker.
Good fit? Bad idea? It’s hard to say without more in depth knowledge of the situation. One of Hamilton’s weaknesses as a driver is a certain lack of maturity, and it’s not a stretch to imagine this carried over to his business dealings. Having a manager like Hakkinen, who’s been there and done that, will go a long way towards shaping Hamilton’s future career. I’d like to see it happen.