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Blundell gets the McLaren

MCLAREN has announced that Mark Blundell will be its driver for the next two Grands Prix - in France and Britain - and will probably race with the team for the rest of the season.

The news suggests that McLaren boss Ron Dennis has now given up any hope of finding another top driver to replace Nigel Mansell - at least for this year. Dennis, incidentally, denied any contact with Sauber's Heinz-Harald Frentzen, saying that he is happy with Blundell.

Blundell began the season as McLaren test driver - having been dropped by Tyrrell - but stepped in to replace Nigel Mansell when the 1992 World Champion failed to impress the team and was dropped just before the Monaco GP.

Dennis will no doubt be turning his attention to getting his hands on a top driver for 1996. He is beleived to have an option on David Coulthard and is certainly in discussion with Gerhard Berger, if the Austrian loses his place at Ferrari to Michael Schumacher.

Mika Hakkinen is staying at McLaren next year. The news comes as no surprise and strongly suggests that the team has given up any hope of attracting Michael Schumacher - which had been the original plan. Schumacher and Hakkinen have been bitter enemies for some years and are unlikely ever to work together as team mates.

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