Motor Racing: Hakkinen's contract

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The Independent Online
MIKA HAKKINEN has been confirmed as a McLaren- Peugeot driver for the next three years. The 25-year-old Finn has secured a long-term role with the former champions after driving in just three grands prix in their colours, writes Derick Allsop.

McLaren hope Hakkinen's emergence as a genuine frontrunner will help offset the loss of Aytron Senna, the three- times world champion, to the title holders, Williams-Renault.

Ron Dennis, McLaren's managing director, said: 'Mika has shown us great character, an exciting turn of speed, a willingness to learn, and level-headedness in difficult situations.'

McLaren intend to embark on next season, their first using Peugeot engines, with a three-driver squad. They are seeking another young driver and Dennis still hopes to persuade Alain Prost to change his mind about retirement. He is still on the trail of Benetton- Ford's Michael Schumacher.