Hakkinen: 'We'll be back'

World champion Mika Hakkinen said McLaren will bounce back after both cars retired from the opening race of the season in Melbourne

Hakkinen: 'We'll be back'

Their failure to finish raised the spectre of a repeat of the reliability problems which plagued last season. David Coulthard retired from second place with a seal failure in the engine's pneumatic valve system and Mika Hakkinen pulled off the track with a similar problem to his teammate seven laps later while leading.

"Obviously I'm disappointed not to have picked up points in the first race of the season but that doesn't mean we are out of the championship.

"There is a long way to go in the season and I am confident we will be fighting all the way.

"I was very happy with the car until I was forced to retire with a technical failure.

"We will identify exactly what caused the problem and work hard to solve it before the next race."

Ron Dennis, head of the pacesetting team, said the omens were good even though both McLarens failed to finish.

"It is obvious we are quick enough to win," he said after Hakkinen retired while leading and Coulthard had pitted on his way to retirement while running second.

"This is an understandably disappointing outcome to a race we were controlling from the front.

"We can at least be positive about the fact that the failures we experienced in the race are the same as those in practice which means it should not be particularly difficult to find a solution as its in an area where we have never incurred problems before."

"We were conserving fuel because Mika and David were very happy with their cars but as always to finish first , you first have to finish."

Mercedes boss Norbert Haug said they will have work fast to get the McLarens back in winning shape for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

He admitted the same problem - a seal failure in the engine's pneumatic valve system - had afflicted both cars

"The same problem which caused failures stopped us today," he said after the race.

"We have to fix that rapidly in order not only to be quick but to finish races."

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