My Dream Ride With Mika Hakkinen In His Caparo T1 On The Indian Roads

Mika Hakkinen has come and gone, but my memories with the twin Formula 1 World Champion will remain. It was a delight to have Hakkinen on our Facebook Live show (the Firstpost Pole Position) and on the Inside Line F1 Podcast. We made him #JoinThePact on our show and I must thank Mithila for a fantastic hand-painted banner that Hakkinen signed on. It is now time to frame the banner and stack it in our Motorsport archives.
We had expected the Flying Finn to be reserved, monosyllabic (to a degree) and not-too-jovial. But we were in for a pleasant surprise! Hakkinen was at his talkative best, witty and offered some really interesting insights on Valtteri Bottas’ struggles in the second half of the 2017 Formula 1 Season while also sharing who his most challenging rival across his entire Motorsport career was. Yes, I too was surprised to know that it wasn’t Michael Schumacher. Okay, so I won’t tell you more about the interview, you need to tune in to The Mika Hakkinen Special yourself!


I’ve had many fans reach out asking me how it was to sit besides Mika Hakkinen in the Caparo T1 and if I have any footage from the lap. First things first, I captured the sound of the V8 engine that powered the Caparo and caught Hakkinen doing some donuts – the slow-mo makes the footage even more fun! So go ahead and enjoy the videos.

The Caparo T1 is labelled as F1-inspired for a reason. From the existing two-seater (or three-seater) racing car options available, I believe that the Caparo is the only one that has the passenger sitting next to the driver and not behind. The visual benefit of such a seating configuration – that is to see your star driver in action in his office setting – beats sitting behind him/her! I actually shared the same eye-view as Hakkinen and had a clear display of his steering wheel, the dashboard and of course, I observed his steering inputs very carefully.
Here’s a quick video introduction of the Caparo T1. If you’re someone who likes to see how compact racing car cockpits are, this video is for you.

The Caparo T1 can run on regular roads – another big advantage. While it might not go as quick as the other two-seaters, it is fast enough (or faster enough!) for the road, sounds lovely and most interestingly, offers a sleek design that is more relatable to the average fan to whom Formula 1 cars might look a bit weird to. I would call the Caparo T1 a marketer’s delight! I was informed that Johnnie Walker owns two Caparos, out of which one is active and travels around the world. Hakkinen has been the only driver to race this Caparo across the world – an honour for the Caparo itself!

A BIG thank you to team Johnnie Walker, CSM, Mika Hakkinen, GBM, Homegrown Media and everyone else for making this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity come true. I would like to thank all our partner websites (, Firstpost, Talking About F1, Sportskeeda, The Pit Crew Online, Motorsport M8, etc.) and fan-led social media handles (Die Hard F1 Fans, MSportXtra, etc.) for their support in spreading the word through millions of fans across the world. Thank you also to the audioBoom team for their efforts in increasing the reach and visibility of our content across their partner mediums. Lastly, the BIGGEST vote of thanks to our readers, listeners and supporters – your encouragement has helped the blog and us reach where we are today.
Many years ago (actually more than a decade now!), when I started writing on Formula 1 for the Chequered Flag Magazine, it was my mother’s dream to see me host a live Formula 1 show with a champion driver in it. There’s no doubt that her dream came true last week. You can check out how thrilled she was when we did a family picture with THE Mika Hakkinen!

And while we’ve had the good comments coming our way, this one validates our efforts that much more. Thank you, Mika.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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