McLaren rolled back the years with by giving us an idea of how coverage of the 1999 Japanese Grand Prix might have looked if social media was a thing 20 years ago
The final race of 1999 saw Mika Hakkinen face off against Ferrari’s Eddie Irvine for the championship. Hakkinen went into the race four points behind and the only way he could guarantee his second title was to win the race - and he did just that.
Now, as someone who remembers watching this live at the time, I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that it happened 20 years ago. Thankfully, McLaren helped soften the blow of the inevitable passage of time by slapping us with a big, comforting hit of nostalgia. To commemorate Hakkinen’s success, the team gave us an insight into how things might have looked if Twitter existed on 31 October 1999.
McLaren really went all-out with it, beyond simply tweeting the day’s events as if it was happening live. There were fake newspapers complete with nice touches, such as an old-school time stamp on the photo:
There was even a Teletext update on the championship situation going into the race - now that takes me back!
The 90s references continued…
…As did the ‘news reports’, including a nice little Lando Norris easter egg:
McLaren even made a Spotify pre-race playlist to get you in the mood:
Mika himself played along…
…And the fans were of course getting involved with the theme:
McLaren also prepped some of their own:
…but woe betide anyone who declined to take a call from Ron Dennis!
Then came the race itself. McLaren continued the theme by going old-school with the classic yellow of the timing screens of the era.
The race coverage featured plenty of clips, including the onboard of Hakkinen’s first lap and his absolutely incredible launch:
What a mega idea - and this is just a small portion of what was going down. To see all of the team’s coverage of the race, check out their Twitter page if you haven’t already done do - it’s absolutely worth it.
For Hakkinen, this proved to be his second and final championship triumph. The following year he lost out in a tight - and legendary - season-long battle with Michael Schumacher, and after the 2001 season he took a sabbatical which ultimately became retirement.