Three years after making his racing comeback, double Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen has confirmed his retirement from professional motor racing.

Hakkinen, who won the F1 title in both 1998 and 1999, retired from Formula 1 back in 2001 but the desire to continue racing proved to be too much for the Finn and he decided to return to racing in the DTM at the start of the 2005 season.

However after three seasons with Mercedes in the German tin-top series, which yielded two wins and a best finish of fifth in the 2005 standings, Hakkinen has now elected to bring the curtain down on his career, with the announcement coming during the annual 'Stars and Cars' celebration in Stuttgart.

"The decision to retire now was not an easy one," Hakkinen reflected. "However, it's about time to say goodbye to professional motor racing. Of course, racing is still in my blood and this decision does not mean that this will prevent me from racing for pleasure.

"I leave with mixed emotions. On the one side, it is hard to say 'Auf Wiedersehen' to the many friends I found in motor sport and particularly in the Mercedes-Benz motor sport family. Together with Norbert Haug and the brand with the star I have celebrated all my successes in Formula 1 and DTM here and this makes me very proud.

"On the other side I am glad to remain closely associated to the brand Mercedes-Benz. We agreed on a long-term co-operation and we will announce more details in due course."

Having seen Hakkinen conclude his career with a series of parade laps in the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-13 that carried him to the 1998 F1 title, Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug admitted it was a sad day for the Mercedes family although he was pleased with the news that Hakkinen will retain an involvement with the brand in future.

"Today I'm really sad about Mika's retirement, we all will miss him as a race driver," he said. "In Formula 1 and DTM together he drove almost 200 races for Mercedes-Benz, but he will remain with us as a brand ambassador and this is important."