Motor Racing: Dennis pursues Herbert

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McLAREN-PEUGEOT may consider substantial compensation to prise Johnny Herbert from his contract with Lotus-Mugen. The British driver is high on the list of candidates for a vacancy at McLaren and visited the team's headquarters in Woking at the weekend, writes Derick Allsop.

McLaren, who acquired Mika Hakkinen from Lotus after lengthy wrangling, would face delicate negotiations with the Norfolk-based team if they decided to pursue Herbert.

There seems little doubt Herbert relishes the prospect of a move to the former champions. He had an excellent relationship with Hakkinen and, after three years with Lotus, possibly feels this is a chance he would have to take.

Ron Dennis, the managing director of McLaren, intends to have a second driver in place by Friday week and is willing to wait until 18 March, nine days before the start of the world championship, to complete his squad with the signing of Alain Prost.

Another Briton in contention is Martin Brundle. He and Herbert are aware that regular races will not be guaranteed. Prost would probably have the option of taking one of the two cars whenever he wished.