Motor Racing : McLaren nod for Blundell

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The Independent Online
Mark Blundell is set to continue driving for the Woking-based Formula One team McLaren. The 29-year-old Londoner stepped in to replace Nigel Mansell when he left the team before the Monaco Grand Prix in May.

McLaren yesterday announced that Blundell would compete in the next two grands prix - in France and at Silverstone. The team boss, Ron Dennis, whose F1 GTR car won the Le Mans 24 Hours Race on Sunday, also indicated that the driver was likely to keep his seat for the remainder of the season.

"Mark and I agreed at the beginning of the year that he would test and drive when required by the team and that situation remains unchanged," Dennis said.

Speculation at the Canadian Grand Prix on 11 June suggested that Blundell would be replaced by German Heinz-Harald Frentzen. But Dennis was keen to stress that he had not approached Frentzen and that he was pleased with Blundell, who made his grand prix debut in 1991 and has had three third placings. "I've told Mark that I am very happy with him and that we are not involved in any form of dialogue with other drivers," he said.

The French Grand Prix takes place at Magny Cours on 2 July, two weeks before Silverstone.