Hakkinen denies retirement rumours

Mika Hakkinen has denied he plans to retire at the end of the season and said that he is in talks with McLaren about re-signing for 2002.

Hakkinen denies retirement rumours

"No chance - there is no way I am quitting," the double champion was quoted as saying in German newspaper Die Welt.

At Silverstone today (Thursday), the Finn said that he was "relaxed" about his Formula 1 future. McLaren, Hakkinen and his manager Keke Rosberg have all denied the subject has even been raised, but German magazine Auto Bild insisted this week that the Finn could call it a day.

In the face of rising speculation, McLaren put out a statement at Silverstone confirming it has options on both Hakkinen and team mate David Coulthard until 2002. Hakkinen himself says he is in negotiations with the Woking-based squad.

"After the French Grand Prix, I had a great vacation in Finland but was made aware about the media speculation about my future career," said Hakkinen. "The team has an option on my services until 2002 and I am currently in discussions with [McLaren team boss] Ron Dennis.

"I am very relaxed about the situation but, as I have repeatedly said, my main objective is to win races this year and this is what I shall be focusing on at Silverstone."

Hakkinen lies sixth in the drivers' championship standings with nine points from 10 races, and trails Coulthard by 38 points.

"This year, in common with every other year, we have certain carefully chosen criteria we apply in selecting our driver line-up for next year," said Dennis. "We are very comfortable with the options open to us and will make announcements, in conjunction with the drivers, as and when appropriate.

"Our decisions not only involve the selection of race drivers but also the very important third driver slot that contributes so much to our testing and development programme. It is also our intention to enhance our medium term options by reinforcing our young driver line-up."

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