MOTOR-RACING : Mansell's McLaren deal stalls

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Nigel Mansell and McLaren- Mercedes appear to have missed a gear on the final straight of their lengthy contract negotiations and today's scheduled official announcement of the deal has been put back to Friday.

One suggestion on the Formula One grapevine is that the 48-hour delay is due to continuing discussions over Mansell's personal sponsorship commitments and minor details of the one-year agreement.

There seems no doubt, however, that Mansell will sign for McLaren.

The 41-year-old, former world champion has been in negotiations with the Woking-based team since his former employers, Williams-Renault, chose the Scot David Coulthard to partner Damon Hill.

Mansell's agent, Sue Membury, said: "Negotiations are well advanced but nothing has been signed. If it had, we would be aware of it and it would be announced publicly."

After initially asking for $16m (£10m), the 1992 champion is understood to have settled for $10m from McLaren for the coming 16-race series, which is scheduled to start in Argentina on 12 March.

McLaren are the only major team yet to finalise their line-up, Benetton-Renault having confirmed on Monday that the 30-year-old Briton, Johnny Herbert, will partner the world champion, Germany's Michael Schumacher.