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.Reuse content