The Kindred Group’s premier online bookmaker brand, Unibet, has enlisted two-time F1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen to serve as its newest ambassador. As part of what is deemed an Insider role, the Flying Finn will oversee production of exclusive content for Unibet customers, offering a closer glimpse into the world of F1 racing and betting. This will include his thoughts leading up to the races, as well as a post-action analysis. Häkkinen himself made the announcement via Twitter, telling his followers:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, very proud to join Team Unibet! Hope to share you some insights for the coming season. Unibet is the number one company in the gaming industry, and it’s great to be a part of the team. In the world of Formula One and motorsports in general, there are still a lot of things that the fans don’t get to see. I’ve experienced it closely as a driver and nowadays as an adviser and team member, and now I also want to get the fans inside F1 together with Unibet."
The reveal came as the 2017 Formula One tournament kicked off in Melbourne. After Nico Rosberg’s dramatic win in 2016, followed swiftly by his surprise retirement, this season marks the first tournament since 1994 where the previous champion will no longer appear.
This is not the first time Mika Häkkinen has represented a big brand. When he first entered F1 racing he raced for Team Lotus, but in 1993 he shifted over to McLaren, who he enjoyed much of his success with. He drove their cars when he achieved two consecutive F1 World Champion titles: the first in 1997 and then in 1998, in a nail-biting Japanese finale. Since his retirement in 2007, he has been the face of Johnnie Walker whisky, as well as Mercedez-Benz AMG, whom he briefly raced with at the tail end of his sports racing career in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters.
Häkkinen’s first blog post for Unibet served as a summary of the sport, looking back on when he first started racing in 1991 and how it has transformed to the present day machine. He says:
"As everyone knows, Formula One in 2017 is all about change and that’s good news because when I visited pre-season testing in Barcelona I really thought the new cars not only looked quick, they also looked spectacular. They look how an F1 car should, which is great because I think the sport lost some of its direction in recent times."
He also credits his long career and quick reactions to his Finnish roots, stating:
"A lot has to do with having a Finnish mentality. We like to be close to nature, avoid distractions and give time to ourselves. Drivers from big cities and bigger countries can appear restless, even distracted. I think our culture really helps us to focus on what is in front of us. My late friend Dr Aki Hintsa was a fantastic guy to work with because he really believed in finding peace inside yourself in order to work out your goal and make the most of your talent."
Häkkinen was also keen to promote his fellow Finn, Valtteri Bottas, who has now signed from Williams to Mercedez following Nico Rosberg’s retirement from the latter. As Häkkinen says:
"He is joining the best team in the world and working alongside Lewis Hamilton is just perfect. It won’t be a comfortable experience, but that’s fine because racing drivers should never be comfortable. When you feel under threat, under pressure, it gives you the opportunity to develop a positive pressure and get the most out of yourself. A little bit of anger can be very useful too."
Mika Häkkinen is not the only recent addition to Unibet’s roster of brand ambassadors. In February, the online poker group signed a trio of professional players as Unibet ambassadors. English player Ian Simpson is joined by a pair of Irish poker pros, Dara “Doke” O’Kearney and David Lappin. All are very active on social media and, like Häkkinen, will be offering Unibet customers tips and insights into their own private poker world.
With so many ambassadors being recruited for specific sports, it wouldn't be surprising if Unibet continued to roll out more announcements and sign well-known sports figures in the coming year. Visit Unibet's topnotch website today to check out what else the gambling operator has going on outside of their big ambassador announcement!