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Will Mansell be in action at Imola?

There is a chance that Marlboro McLaren Mercedes driver Nigel Mansell will miss not only the Brazilian and Argentine Grands Prix but also the San Marino GP at Imola at the end of April.

The McLaren team is working 24 hours a day to build new monocoques into which Mansell will fit, and team boss Ron Dennis admits that McLaren's disastrous design error has cost the team US$500,000 in extra car-building costs.

Dennis remains outwardly optimistic, arguing that "only a fool would ever discount McLaren and Mercedes", but team insiders make no secret of the fact that all is not rosy inside the team at the moment.

In Brazil Mika Hakkinen and Mark Blundell did a good job, Hakkinen having no complaints with the chassis into which he now fits. Blundell had a more difficult time - because he is the same basic size as Mansell - and suffered bad bruising on his wrists and elbows.

There continue to be stories that the relationship between Dennis and Mansell is sufficiently strained for the Englishman to be considering not driving for the team in any races this year, but with work going ahead at full steam at the McLaren factory in Woking, this seems an unlikely scenario.

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