Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

tiistai 14. huhtikuuta 2015

Aki Hintsa: The anatomy of winning by Oskari Saari

Aki Hintsa: The anatomy of winning was published in March 2015. It tells the story of the man behind Formula 1 champions and reveals the secret to success. Aki Hintsa is a Finnish pshysician specializing in preventive medicine. At the beginning of his career Hintsa worked as a missionary doctor in Ethiopia in the 1990s.  He is best known for his work in F1 as a doctor and coach. Hintsa worked in the facades of F1 for 11 years before he quit his job after the 2013 season.

Hintsa´s practices have made drivers turn into champions. The book contains never-before-published information from the inner circle of F1 in a compelling and humorous way. For example there's a hilarious story of what happened when Dr Hintsa decided to challenge Kimi Räikkönen for a race on snow mobiles... It also contains Hintsa´s comprehensive model for personal success, which anyone can apply in his/her personal life. Hintsa has a holistic approach to human well-being and health. The journey towards success begins with three fundamental questions: Who are you? What do you want? Are you in control of your life? Hintsa´s practices have been the key factor behind the success of not only F1 drivers but also many top level business executives.

Nowadays Hintsa concentrates on running a unique clinic in Geneva with clients including prominent figures and top athletes. The aim of the clinic is to improve the client´s physical and non-physical performance and quality of life in a holistic, individually tailored manner. The author of the book is Oskari Saari, a journalist, producer and nonfiction author. He´s known throughout Finland (and worldwide) as the commentator on the Formula 1 races.

The book made a huge impression on me. The story was so compelling that it was difficult to let the book off my hands in the evening. Before reading the book I knew very little about Aki Hintsa although I´ve been a huge Formula 1 fan since 1994. Actually the only thing I knew was that Hintsa worked as McLaren team doctor. It was absolutely thrilling to read all those inside stories about the cooperation between Hintsa and such F1 champions as Mika Häkkinen, Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel. Though I´m a passionate Vettel fan, I had no idea that Hintsa has been such a key figure behind the German´s success. A couple of months ago it was breaking news that Sebastian had bought himself a summer cottage in Joutsa, Central Finland. Who else would have been the seller but Aki Hintsa himself!

Nor had I any idea that Sebastian´s former performance coach Tommi Pärmäkoski was part of Hintsa´s team as well! Tommi worked as Sebastian´s coach from 2009 to 2011 and this was the start to a legendary success story. During those years Sebastian won two world championships. I always had the intuition that Sebastian and Tommi were a perfect team and that Tommi had great expertise in terms of psychological performance. A flashback hit me when I read in the book about the Turkish GP in 2010. The Red Bull team-mates Vettel and Webber had had tight battles for victories already earlier that season but the Turkish GP was a turning point in terms of Vettel´s career. Webber was driving in the lead until Sebastian tried to overtake his team-mate and the situation lead into a collision and both Sebastian´s and Mark´s race was ruined. Sebastian´s gestures on the live TV coverage showed that the situation was out of control. I remember my own reactions after this very GP. I was very worried that this collision between the team-mates could ruin Sebastian´s hopes for winning the championship. I had a strong hunch that this episode would either make Sebastian a stronger racer if he was able to deal with the situation and keep his feet firmly on the ground. Or it would ruin the German´s hopes to fight for the championship that season. Luckily Sebastian managed to turn the difficulties into success and he won his very first world championship that year. I doubt what would have happened if Tommi hadn´t been there with his psychological skills! Hintsa´s model was all about helping the driver manage extreme stress due to the physical and mental demand of the races.

It seems to me that Aki Hintsa was one of the few people who understood that Kimi had to be given the personal space he needed. There was absolutely no way Kimi could have been forced to do things he hated: huge amount of PR work and being in the lime light all the time. Demanding these things from Kimi would have meant deteriorated performance from Kimi in the races. Luckily Hintsa managed to make McLaren Team Principal Ron Dennis convinced of this aspect. This is only one aspect which shows Hintsa´s exceptional psychological knowledge.

The book made me pore over my own life. Would I be able to answer questions like who I really am and am I in control of my own life? They sound like simple questions but they are more complex than they sound. So there´s a very deep aspect in this book as well. One of the best things is that an ordinary person like myself can learn and apply Hintsa´s model and aim for an improvement in the quality of my life.

So far the book hasn´t yet been translated into English but I´m sure it will be. Every passionate Formula 1 fan should definitely read it! For a fleeting moment reading the book makes you a part of the inner circle of F1. In addition to being a talented F1 commentator Oskari Saari has impressive skills as a writer. I hope there´re many more F1 related books to come in the future!

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