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McLaren confirms Hakkinen and Coulthard for 2001

THE West McLaren Mercedes team has announced that David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen will be its drivers for the 2001 season. The team has agreed a one-year deal with Coulthard with an option to continue in 2002, while Hakkinen's current contract runs until the end of next season. It will be David's sixth and Mika's ninth season with the team. The team usually does not make any announcements until later in the year but has moved quickly this year to stop Coulthard being poached by other teams. David is believed to have been offered deals next year by both Jordan and Jaguar Racing. At the same time the early announcement seems to have been designed to reassure both men that they will be receiving the full support of the team.

There have been rumors for some weeks that Hakkinen might be considering quitting at the end of this season and the announcement will also help to stop such gossip, despite the fact that Hakkinen has been very disappointing this year.

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